First Temple Marriages: Polygamous or Monogamous

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Caveman
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First Temple Marriages: Polygamous or Monogamous

Post by Caveman » 07 Jan 2015, 14:14

Hello Folks!

I am happy to have found your site and am hoping to find answers and motivation from you guys to stay in the fold. I am researching the origins of our Temple Marriage since the Restoration. Do we know what came first, polygamous or monogamous TMs. What year was the first TM, polygamous and monogamous. I'd like to know if in the D&C or other scriptures there are any references to TM. Was is just for the leadership, and years later, trickle down to the members?

Since my unraveling, I've decided that for me, Polygamy was wrong. The Essays on Polygamy has been the last straw for me and I hope to find a shred of goodness in it all to hold on to. I just hope that the my TM ceremony was not just an evolution from the polygamy TM ceremony after those ended circa 1890s. Section 132 is the only reference to eternal marriage I have found in the scriptures and in this context it is to do with polygamy. When the first temples were first built, besides baptisms for the dead, what else other ceremonies did the Saints do? Lastly, is there a connection with Inventories and Endowments.?

Thanks,
Caveman

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Heber13
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Re: First Temple Marriages: Polygamous or Monogamous

Post by Heber13 » 07 Jan 2015, 15:33

Welcome, Caveman.

I have found it interesting studying the history of the temple ceremony, and also freemasonry.

As with many of the things about the church as it grew, the temple ceremony was not simply revealed at once by angels and then truth restored meant we have it in the same form today. As with other church organization elements, the temple ceremony grew and evolved line upon line.

But to answer your most direct question first, No, the temple ceremony was not originally started as a polygamous marriage or ceremony.

Here is what I remember about the evolution of the temple ceremony:
- Kirtland temple ceremony is considered a precursor, and included washing and anointings, partaking the sacrament, washing the feet. These were spiritual rituals to invite gifts of the spirit, not an endowment ceremony like anything we have today, but came to be preparatory ordinance work, and those anointed in Kirtland were redone later in Nauvoo.
- Nauvoo temple ceremony was further developed to include Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood, washing and anointings, baptisms, and the initial endowment by solemn assemblies (group Hosana shout type ceremonies) - "your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies" (D&C 124:39). This included theological instruction and symbolism, and although nothing recognizable to masonry, did seem to show masonic influences as many Nauvoo members were freemasons, including Joseph and Hyrum and other prominent church leaders.
- Further Nauvoo temple ceremony development after about a year after the Nauvoo revised ceremony, and included celestial marriage for time and eternity, and the second anointing.
- In Utah it actually was a bit less adhered to, as they were building temples, but not many endowments were being done for several years, and when the practice began to be emphasized again, it included some elements of the Adam-God theory that have since been removed.
- In General Conference of 1894, Wilford Woodruf put a stop to people being sealed to general authorities and other church members outside their families, and sealing to parents was more the focus.
- in the 1904 Smoot hearings, it came out that the Oath of Vengeance (for Joseph) had been part of the temple ceremony, but has since been removed.
"Celestial marriage" was applied to and equated with plural marriage in nineteenth-century Utah. However, since Joseph Smith apparently never taught plural marriage in the Quorum of the Anointed (where endowments were given during his life), it seems safe to assume that no plural wives were sealed in the endowment group before his death. The practice of performing celestial marriages in the temple began in the Nauvoo Temple.
Source: Andrew F. Ehat, "Joseph Smith's Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Mormon Succession Question" (master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1982), 59-62.

Based on the history, Caveman, I think you can rest assured that the temple marriages and temple ceremony did not originate within polygamy. However, as Brigham Young and others moved out to Utah and polygamy became more a focus on mormon teachings to achieve the highest degrees of worthiness, the "Celestial Masonry" and "Celestial Marriage" components of the temple did begin to weave the polygamous doctrines they were teaching at the time.

And obviously, the church continues in our day to distance itself from polygamy, so much that a recent prophet says about polygamy:
I condemn it, yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal. It is not legal. And this church takes the position that we will abide by the law. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, magistrates in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law.
GB Hinckley to Larry King.
I, for one, do not think the temple is rooted in polygamy. I reject polygamy as a mistake, like you said, and focus on the temple ceremony as a symbolic way for us to bind together our families for eternity, and serve each other in working out our salvation through God's son.

Of course, I'm now divorced and still sealed to my ex-wife. I'm not sure what to make of that. But continue forward with hopes "all things get worked out" as I have faith in God.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Roy
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Re: First Temple Marriages: Polygamous or Monogamous

Post by Roy » 07 Jan 2015, 18:10

Just today I stubled upon the following 270 page article about the "Law of Adoption"

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewc ... monhistory

For me it explains soooo very much. I am less than halfway through but my current understanding goes like this.

The Law of Adoption is about the spirit of Elijah and sealing the whole world together in an unbroken chain, Fathers to children, children to fathers, etc.

Among this sealing work is also a bent about building your own family kingdom to take with you into the next life. Those sealed to you would benefit from your sponsorship/protection and you would benefit from their fealty in ways that would increase your eternal glory. (the nucleus of this family kingdom always seemed to be a man but that might have had much to do with sexism and gender roles prevalent in the day)

This does not require polygamy. The sealings are not necessarilly marriages at all. They are bonds that seem to encompass the relations of Son/Daughter, Brother/Sister, Aunt/Uncle, Father/Mother, Husband/Wife, Close Friends, etc. etc. depending on the individual circumstances. I could be sealed in this way to my entire extended family and neighborhood and continue to live with my one and only wife.

It does however seem to allow for polygamy as more than wive seems to have been historically permitted. (At least with Hyrum this was explained as how he could be married to both his deceased wife and his current wife in the eternities)

So long story short we have largely cut out the polygamy part but still believe in sealing the whole earth through the spirit of Elijah. It is just that now we are doing it through sealing nuclear families together instead of larger, more extended communities.

Running short of time but the topic is so very fascinating for me.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Caveman
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Joined: 06 Jan 2015, 20:10

Re: First Temple Marriages: Polygamous or Monogamous

Post by Caveman » 07 Jan 2015, 22:02

Thank you for your posts and the information you shared. Roy I can't wait to read the link you attached. The building of family and friends through sealing in the early days may account for some of Joseph's marriages, if the accusations of the 30 plus wives are in fact truthful. I am relieved about celestial marriage being apart from plural marriage. It is interesting how the early saints did some of the temple ceremonies a second time as well as re baptism. I wonder if that was just a reflection of the times.

So much has changed or evolved since the Church was reestablished. Some of it I really don't have an opinion over, but other changes I really question as the original concepts or practices seemed more practical and down to earth.

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Heber13
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Re: First Temple Marriages: Polygamous or Monogamous

Post by Heber13 » 07 Jan 2015, 23:38

I am fairly certain we are beyond accusations of Joseph having at least 33 wives. Lds.org even acknowledges it.

But as Roy points out, I see these rooted more in what Joseph was trying to do to build Zion and seal together generations in this last dispensation of the fullness of times, and it less about sex with multiple women (though sex seems to be part of it, perhaps feeling like it was a natural course of action for those wed).

I have let go of feeling the temple ceremony we have today is word for word what Adam taught, or what was happening in Solomon's temples or temples in Jesus' day.

But I can find beauty and meaning in the temple today. I always feel peaceful there.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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