Skip to comments.Oliver Cowdery’s ‘Article on Marriage’ embarrassed the LDS Church in its polygamy heyday
Posted on 03/26/2013 7:26:44 PM PDT by Colofornian
During its first several decades, LDS Church leaders included an Article on Marriage in the faiths Doctrine and Covenants. Penned by early church leader Oliver Cowdery, it stated, in part, Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.
It sounds pretty simple, albeit a bit clumsy in the wording. Some have surmised that the slight difference in the words man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband. kind of leaves an out for a man to have many one wife-es but for a woman, but one husband. But thats all speculation.
For more than two generations, Cowderys Article on Marriage was entrenched as part of the Doctrine and Covenants, although not considered a revelation. However, its inclusion turned into a public relations embarrassment for the LDS Church after it publicly embraced polygamy. After sons of Emma Smith, and others traveled to Utah, they used the Cowdery Article on Marriage as evidence that polygamy was an invention of Brigham Young, and not Joseph Smith. ( It seems quaint now to contemplate that 140 years ago missionaries from the RLDS Church were energetically denying that Joseph Smith was a polygamist.)
LDS Church leaders finally eliminated the Cowdery Article on Marriage from the Doctrine and Covenants it was Section 101 and Section 109 in distinct editions and Section 132 became the churchs theological defense of polygamy. Church leaders, who were at that time claiming that Smith had first mentioned polygamy as far back as 1832, also took a long-delayed swipe at Cowdery, claiming that he had abused confidence imposed on him by Joseph Smith by having the Article on Marriage inserted into the Doctrine and Covenants without Smiths approval.
Heres an example of the lets-blame-Cowdery explanation from Joseph F. Smith in 1878:
To put this matter more correctly before you, I here declare that the principle of plural marriage was not first revealed on the 12th day of July, 1843. It was written for the first time on that date, but it had been revealed to the Prophet many years before that, perhaps as early as 1832. About this time, or subsequently, Joseph, the Prophet, intrusted this fact to Oliver Cowdery; he abused the confidence imposed in him, and brought reproach upon himself, and thereby upon the church by running before he was sent, and taking liberties without license, so to speak, hence the publication, by O. Cowdery, about this time, of an article on marriage, which was carefully worded, and afterwards found its way into the Doctrine and Covenants without authority. This article explains itself to those who understand the facts, and is an indisputable evidence of the early existence of the knowledge of the principle of patriarchal marriage by the Prophet Joseph, and also by Oliver Cowdery.
Cowdery was an easy target, having been dead for more than 25 years. He was excommunicated by church leaders in the late 1830s, largely as a result of the churchs internal dissent following a failed financial institution in Kirtland, Ohio. Cowdery, at the time, also criticized Joseph Smiths relationship with Fanny Alger, a teen servant girl who is assumed to have been Smiths first plural wife. That relationship failed once Emma Smith, Josephs wife, ended it.
Its tempting to regard the 1835 Article on Marriage as a response to the Smith, Alger failed relationship, but thats likely not true. Brian C. Hales, an excellent historian (his books on LDS polygamy are a must-read), has looked as several potential scenarios for what prompted the Article on Marriage. Reactions to Josephs sexual behavior, or even Olivers, as a catalyst to the Article on Marriages inclusion, dont stand up well to historical scrutiny. Hales writes that the Marriage Article instead was designed to establish that Christian monogamy was a law they had already established and that infractions of this law were seriously disciplined.
Under this theory, the early Mormons theology of having all things in common, was interpreted by gossips or enemies as evidence that the Mormons practiced free love, such as sharing of spouses. That needed to be stopped. Hales quotes John L. Brooke, a chronicler of folk manifestations in early 19th century America, who wrote: Among the non-Mormons in Ohio there were suspicions that the community of property dictated in the Law of Consecration included wives.
So after all is said and done, the 1870s controversy over the Article of Marriage seems more public relations than a defense for or against polygamy. After Smiths failed effort with Alger, the prophet was publicly silent on polygamy for several years. The 1835 Article on Marriage seems to be simply a reaffirmation by the new religion of traditional beliefs on marriage and chastity, designed to quell rumors that the new church was immoral.
As mentioned, Oliver Cowdery became the scapegoat for the Marriage Articles inclusion, a curious charge that fails to explain why the article remained as church scripture for 40-plus years. My supposition is, as mentioned, that church leaders saw its subject as clarifying the Law of Consecration, and not polygamy.
As for Cowdery, he was not a bitter apostate and in the early 1840s sporadic efforts to have him rebaptized began, championed chiefly by Phineas Young, brother to Brigham Young. Although those efforts were put on the back-burner while the church moved West, eventually, in 1848, Cowdery was rebaptized. Although he had made plans to move to Utah and was asked by Brigham Young to lobby for the church in Washington D.C., Cowderys health was declining rapidly as 1850 approached. He died on March 3, 1850, at the home of David Whitmer, in Richmond, Mo. He was only 43.
From the column: During its first several decades, LDS Church leaders included an Article on Marriage in the faiths Doctrine and Covenants.
Note: The Mormon "Doctrine & Covenants" is regarded by the Lds church as "scripture."
From the column: Penned by early church leader Oliver Cowdery, it stated, in part, Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again....For more than two generations, Cowderys Article on Marriage was entrenched as part of the Doctrine and Covenants, although not considered a revelation. However, its inclusion turned into a public relations embarrassment for the LDS Church after it publicly embraced polygamy...Oliver Cowdery became the scapegoat for the Marriage Articles inclusion, a curious charge that fails to explain why the article remained as church scripture for 40-plus years.
In the 1835 + 1852 versions of Lds Doctrine & Covenants, this was D&C 101:4...in contrast the Mormon "revelation" of polygamy -- was is STILL "on the D&C books" known as D&C 132 -- didn't show up as Mormon "scripture" until 1876...even tho Joseph Smith came up with the "revelation" in 1843 as a means trying to corral his first wife, Emma, into accepting it.
So here was a "scripture" that Lds used publicly to deny practicing polygamy -- all as several leaders increasingly took plural wives in Nauvoo, IL, in the early 1840s.
How was D&C 101:4 -- there until 1876 -- utilized by Lds leaders from 1842-1850?
Joseph Smith was editor of a Nauvoo publication for Mormons called Times & Seasons...you can view two excerpts from Times & Season from Sept. 1, 1842 and Oct. 1, 1842 here: Mormon Deception - Doctrine & Covenants 101:4 Lie (6-minute YouTube clip)
The Sept. 1842 excerpt is found at Volume 3, pape 909: "Inas much as the public mind has been unjustly abused through the fallacy of Dr. Bennett's letters, we make an extract on the subject of marriage, showing the rule of the churh on this important matter. The extract is from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and is the only rule allowed by the church...Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again..."
Oct. 1, 1842, Vol. 3, p. 939: Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again...We have given the above rule of marriage as the only one practiced in this church, to show that Dr. J.C. Bennett's 'secret wife system' is a matter of his own manufacture..."
By 1844, Smith had over two dozen wives, and his brother Hyrum, was still "lying for the Lord" on this matter in Times & Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 474, March 15, 1844: "...brother Richard Hewitt has called on me to-day...and states to me that some of your elders say, that a man having a certain priesthood, may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrince is taught here: I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrine, for there is no such doctrine taught here; neither is there any such thing practised here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such doctrine, is culpable, and will stand a chance to be brought before the High Council, and lose his license and membership also; therefore he had better beware what he is about...I am Your obedient servant, HYRUM SMITH
(Please note "doctrine" is misspelled above as "doctrince" -- I left it as it is in the original)
By 1850, John Taylor, an Lds "apostle" originally from the UK -- and who became the third Mormon "prophet" after Brigham Young -- was in France debating three Protestant pastors. The subject of polygamy was brought up. Taylor, who by then had a dozen wives, denied any such practice of polygamy -- and of course, cited Cowdery's D&C 101:4 as "proof." (See YouTube link above for more details)
Taylor went so far as to cite the same thing in a written version published in Liverpool, UK, in 1850!
So after all is said and done, the 1870s controversy over the Article of Marriage seems more public relations than a defense for or against polygamy...For more than two generations, Cowderys Article on Marriage was entrenched as part of the Doctrine and Covenants, although not considered a revelation. However, its inclusion turned into a public relations embarrassment for the LDS Church after it publicly embraced polygamy.
Well, the question then becomes exactly when did the Mormon church publicly embrace polygamy?
Answer? The Lds church was finally forced to publicly concede polygamy in 1852 when government surveyor Captain John W. Gunnison penned this book: The Mormons, or, Latter-day saints, in the valley of the Great Salt Lake: a history of their rise and progress, peculiar doctrines, present condition, and prospects, derived from personal observation: during a residence among them
(Gunnison had been surveying the Utah Territory, and had opportunity to view Mormons in their natural environs)
But for all the shocking revelations in Gunnison's treatise, none had a greater impact than the expose' of polygamy. Gunnison's confirmation of the widespread practice of plural marriage in Utah vehemently, repeatedly denied by Young and his apostles throughout the worldmade his book a best-seller in the nation and abroad. (Sally Denton, American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857 Vintage Books, division from Random House, p. 69
As a "thank you" of "sorts" from Lds leaders to Gunnison for unveiling its rampant Utah polygamy, Gunnison and a party of seven others were massacred in their camp when Gunnison had returned to Utah in 1853...
While many reports blamed the Native Americans, a Chicago Judge discovered otherwise in 1857 -- the same year that Lds leaders were to try the same ruse with the 9/11 massacre of 120 innocent children, moms & dads known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre...initially blaming it, too, on Native Americans. (The Native Americans DID participate in the initial shooting barrage on the wagon party, but opted out when it turned into a multi-day siege).
Here's SEVERAL sources on the Gunnison massacre:
(1) Liberty Weekly Tribune May 8, 1857 The Murder of Capt. Gunnison; Letter from Judge Drummond. The mystery of the murder of poor Capt. Gunnison, whose sad and tragic fate in Utah in 1853, we all remember, is gradually clearing up, confirming the suspicion that he and his eight companions were not murdered by Indians, but by Mormons. -- In the Chicago press of yesterday, is a correspondence between Mrs. M. D. Gunnison, widow of the murdered officer, and Judge Drummond, late Judge of the Federal District Court for Utah. In answer to Mrs. Gunnison's inquiries concerning the death of her husband, Judge Drummond mentions a chain of circumstances which prove conclusively that the murderers of Gunnison and his party were Mormons and Indians, and that the whole affair, to use Judge Drummond's own words, "was a deep and maturely laid plan by the Mormons to murder the whole party of engineers and surveyors, and charge the murder upon the Indians." The murderers were a company of Indians and Mormons, led by one Enies, a friend and favorite of Brigham Young. The names of the Mormons who participated in the affair, are William A. Hackman [sic]. Anson Call, Alexander McRay, Ephraim Hanks, James W. Cummings, Edwin D. Wooley, George Peacock, Levi Abrams, and Bronson -- all of them members in good standing of the Mormon church. The Indians were tried for the offence, but acquitted in obedience with an express order to that effect from Brigham Young to the jury. These disclosures by Judge Drummond will produce a sensation in the country. Liberty Weekly Tribune May 8, 1857 The Murder of Capt. Gunnison; Letter from Judge Drummond
(3) Per Author Sally Denton (for online excerpt direct from her book, see American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857 Vintage Books, division from Random House, pp. 88-89 -- there were indications at least one Native American was involved along with the Mormons:
(Speaking of Judge Drummond: ...'at the same court a favorite Indian warrior of Gov. [Brigham] Young, by the name of Eneis,' was also tried for the murders of the Gunnison party. 'Upon his trial I became convinced beyond the possibility of a doubt,' Drummond wrote, 'that the whole affair was a deep and maturely laid plan to murder the whole party of engineers, or surveyors, and charge the murders upon the Indians.' Trial evidence revealed that Eneis was 'the property of Governor [Brigham] Young, and that he could speak English quite fluently, and that when he left the city of Salt Lake, he went under the order of Governor Young and the church.' Further much testimony indicated that Eneis was in the company of 'several white men on the day before the murder, and that they were all on their way toward the engineers' camp.' (pp. 88-89) 'The white men [the murderers] were so accurately described,' Drummond continued, that he felt certain in identifying them. 'This I do for the benefit of those men who may go to Utah as apointees under the present administration, viz: William A. Hickman, Anson Call, Alexander McRay, Ephraim Hanks, James W. Cummings, Edward D. Wolley, George Peacock, Levi Abrams, and ___________ Bronson, all of whom are in good standing to this day in the [Mormon] church. (p. 89) After the surveyors had been shot, their arms and legs had been cut off. Most brutal of all was Eneis' final act. He 'cut Capt. Gunnison's body open and took out his heart while he was yet alive, and the heart so full of blood that it bounded on the ground after being taken out; and not content with this, but cut out his tongue.' (Denton, p. 89)
Note: William A. Hickman was the notorious Wild Bill Hickman, a confessed Mormon mass murderer who was a hit man for Brigham Young: Murderpedia: William Adams Hickman his confession given in the 19th century book, Brigham's Destroying Angel
So What’s the point? Oliver Cowdery, who is not the leader of the LDS church gives his opinion? If Oliver Cowdery’s opinion is so important to you ....
....then you’ll be impressed about his lifelong testimony that the Book of Mormon was true, even after he was excommunicated from the LDS church ....
.....even though his testimony had prevented him from winning the Governorship for the State of Wisconson!
Truly this man had an extroadinary commitment to the revelation he had wherein he stated God had shown him that the Book of Mormon was true.
I’m pleased that you have chosen to
“So Whats the point?”
Your religion is demonstrably false. That’s the point. It was invented by pimps and whoremongers who openly denied the practice of polygamy in their own “holy” writ as they practiced it in secret, destroying lives in the process. Are you so shameless that you won’t tackle that little tidbit of fact?
“then youll be impressed about his lifelong testimony that the Book of Mormon was true”
He joined the Methodists, and was defeated from his political ambition due to his background in Mormonism, not because of his then present religion.
His reaffirmation of the LDS is also not proven:
“Cowdery is supposed to have affirmed his Book of Mormon testimony before a court of law while he was acting as a prosecuting attorney. “However, the claim rests on less than satisfactory grounds. The various accounts are inconsistent and some elements of the story troubling. In the earliest account, for instance, Brigham Young (1855) states that the trial occurred in Michigan, while George Q. Cannon (1881) claims that it was in Ohio. Charles M. Neilson (1909-35) inconsistently names Michigan and Illinois. Seymour B. Young (1921) fails to give the trial’s location. Presently there is no evidence for Cowdery practicing law in either Michigan or Illinois.” Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents, 2: 468. The documents themselves are given at 2: 471-90. Two other associates of Cowdery in Tiffin, Ohio claimed that Cowdery never discussed Mormonism in public or in private.” Charles Augustus Shook, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Co., 1914), 5657.
So Whats the point?
Where’s the “What difference does it make?” picture when ya need it?
Flip-flopping on things STILL makes for problems - politicians can explain this phenomenon.
The BIBLE mentioned it earlier...
James 1:8 (kjv)
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
THE BOOK OF JACOB
THE BROTHER OF NEPHICHAPTER 224 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.
25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.
26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
27 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;
28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.
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.
31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.
32 And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.
Or even HERE:
1 Timothy 3:2-3
2. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
3. not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.1 Timothy 3:12
A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.Titus 1:6
An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS
OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTSSECTION 1325157, Emma Smith is counseled (commanded) to be faithful and true; 5866, Laws governing the plurality of wives are set forth.51 Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to aprove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.52 And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, areceive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.53 For I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many things; for he hath been afaithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.55 But if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an ahundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of beternal lives in the eternal worlds.
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS
OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
5157, Emma Smith is counseled (commanded) to be faithful and true; 5866, Laws governing the plurality of wives are set forth.
51 Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to aprove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.
52 And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, areceive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.
53 For I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many things; for he hath been afaithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.
55 But if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an ahundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of beternal lives in the eternal worlds.
do we ANTIs (as we are lovingly called) have any worries today, of retribution from rabid MORMONs, because WE are exposing the things that MORMONism, Inc. wishes would stay tucked away in the background?
"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned;
and I will go still further and say, take this revelation, or any other revelation that the Lord has given,
and deny it in your feelings, and I promise that you will be damned.
Brigham Young - JoD 3:266 (July 14, 1855)
Houston teppe; we have a problem!
And NEVER back down from exposing a FALSE teaching being spread around!
What really makes me laugh is anyone who had a question on anything got little personalized messages from God thru JS.
‘Oliver Cowdery has confusion on what color shirt to wear, JS goes to the Lord and the Lord’s will is revealed...”My son Oliver, hearken and hear and behold what I the Lord God shall say unto you, I the Lord God would have you wear the blue shirt, yea even the bluest shirt, you are my son and blessed are you that believe...” ‘
What’s not to believe?
Revelation to Ezra Thayre and Northrop Sweet, given October, 1830.
1. Behold, I say unto you, my servants Ezra and Northrop, open ye your ears and hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, whose word is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow, soul and spirit; and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
2. For verily, verily, I say unto you that ye are called to lift up your voices as with the sound of a trump, to declare my gospel unto a crooked and perverse generation.
3. For behold, the field is white already to harvest; and it is the eleventh hour, and the last time that I shall call laborers into my vineyard.
4. And my vineyard has become corrupted every whit; and there is none which doeth good save it be a few; and they err in many instances because of priestcrafts, all having corrupt minds.
5. And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this Church have I established and called forth out of the wilderness.
6. And even so will I gather mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, even as many as will believe in me, and hearken unto my voice.
7. Yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that the field is white already to harvest; wherefore, thrust in your sickles, and reap with all your might, mind, and strength.
8. Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness.
9. Yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your backs, for lo, I am with you.
10. Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying: Repent, repent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;
11. Yea, repent and be baptized, every one of you, for a remission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.
12. Behold, verily, verily I say unto you, this is my gospel, and remember that they shall have faith in me, or they can in no wise be saved;
13. And upon this rock I will build my church; yea, upon this rock ye are built, and if ye continue, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.
14. And ye shall remember the church articles and covenants to keep them.
15. And whoso having faith you shall confirm in my church, by the laying on of the hands, and I will bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost upon them.
16. And the Book of Mormon and the Holy Scriptures are given of me for your instruction; and the power of my Spirit quickeneth all things.
17. Wherefore, be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom
18. For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that I come quickly. Even so. Amen.
“62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.”
And they STILL do it today!
Two thirds of the way down...
SOMEone is in SERIOUS denial!!