Hey Mormons! Joseph Smith was a polygamist?!

On November 6, 2014 by Bobby Blakey

joseph-smith-mormonRecently I read an article that ran in the Orange County Register saying Joseph Smith was a polygamist.

This news article was actually a summary of an article The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons) posted on their own website about the plural marriages of their founding prophet Joseph Smith.

I was not surprised to read Joseph Smith was a polygamist. But I was surprised to read this on a Mormon website! And I was SHOCKED to read how they said this was not only morally right, but what God told him to do!

Here’s a quote from the lds.org article about how God gave Joseph Smith a revelation on plural marriage:

“The revelation, recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 132, states that Joseph prayed to know why God justified Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, and Solomon in having many wives. The Lord responded that He had commanded them to enter into the practice.”

The problem with this statement made by Joseph Smith is it directly contradicts the Bible.

God never commands polygamy in the Bible. In fact, he commands against it.

In Deuteronomy 17:17 this command is given specifically to the future king of the nation of Israel:

“And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away…”

When Abraham and David had multiple wives it doubled the trouble they had in their lives. When King Solomon multiplied wives it turned his heart away from the Lord (1 Kings 11:3-4). Solomon’s polygamy was explicitly called a sin (Nehemiah 13:26).

This is the main error Joseph Smith taught his followers. I do not mean polygamy. That’s not really what this blog is about. I mean, Joseph Smith taught his followers a type of prayer where God gives you a personal revelation in response

EVEN IF IT CONTRADICTS WHAT THE BIBLE HAS ALREADY SAID!

Mormon Temple“But I Already Prayed A Prayer”

This is where I usually get in my conversations with Mormons.

I have had the opportunity to talk with many Mormons over the years now.

I have talked with their missionaries, but also those who go to the ward down the street. I have talked with students who go to a Mormon class in the morning before they go to high school. I’ve even been to the temple in Salt Lake City, twice. But all of the conversations end at the same place.

They tell me about praying a prayer.

They asked the Holy Spirit to show them if Mormonism is true or not.

And they all say the same thing, “Would the Holy Spirit lie to me?”

The answer comes to them in a feeling of overwhelming confidence and they know the Book of Mormon is true.

This used to be called “the burning in the bosom” before “bosom” became an awkward word.

This feeling or “personal revelation in response to a prayer” is why Mormons tell me they are Mormon.

And it all goes back to Joseph Smith.

Joseph Smith began The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints because he didn’t know what denomination to be a part of when he was a young man. So he prayed to God.

The verse Mormons always use when they tell me about this is James 1:5:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

This is a wonderful promise of the Bible that God will give us wisdom if we ask him for it.

But the “wisdom God gave” to Joseph Smith was unique. It wasn’t discernment from the Bible or advice from an older man in the faith which church to go to. God apparently gave Joseph Smith a revelation of himself and told him to found a new church entirely.

This is Mormon doctrine in a nutshell. It is not based on God’s revelation through Scripture in the past but it is based on God’s revelation in response to prayer in the present.

But what if the “wisdom God gave” to Joseph Smith contradicts other revelations God has already given?

For example, how does it make sense for God to tell Joseph Smith polygamy was commanded, when he has already said it was a sin in the Old Testament? Even in the New Testament God makes it clear he is looking for men who are “the husband of one wife” to lead his church (1 Timothy 3:2 & Titus 1:6).

Or how does it make sense for God to tell Joseph Smith to start a new church in answer to his prayers, when Jesus already said he would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18)? If what Jesus says about his church is true, why would we ever need another one?

When I am talking with a Mormon and we arrive at one of these contradictions they always tell me about a personal revelation they received from God in response to their prayer. First it happened with Joseph Smith. But now it is happening with every Mormon everywhere.

The Holy Spirit has told them personally it is true in response to a prayer.

This burning feeling is really what Mormons put their faith in.

This proves Christianity from the New Testament and that Mormonism from another testament are not the same.

Even more than that, only one of them can be right!

The Fundamental Difference Is What We Put Our Faith In

As a Christian, I put my faith in what God has revealed to me in the Bible.

As a Mormon, you put your faith in what God has revealed to you in answer to your own prayer.

Will the Holy Spirit lie to you?

No.

But that is not the question.

The question is how does the Holy Spirit tell you the truth.

How do you know it really is the Holy Spirit?

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” ~1 John 4:1

If we have two things that both claim to be from the Holy Spirit but contradict each other then only one of them can be right.

So how can we compare these two things to see which one is true?

There must be a source where the Holy Spirit has already spoken which all new wisdom and answers to prayer can be compared to.

In 1 Peter chapter 1, Peter talks about being an eyewitness of Jesus.

He talks about a revelation where he saw the glory from the Father descends on Jesus with a voice saying, “This is my beloved Son.”

This is actually very similar to the revelation Joseph Smith claims to have had in the woods that is the beginning of Mormonism!

But then Peter writes this in 1 Peter 1:

19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,

20 Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Peter says the Holy Spirit inspired men to write prophecy.

Prophecy that was around even before Peter in the Old Testament!

He says this is how we know it is from the Holy Spirit, when we compare it to the previous prophecy he has already given to us.

It cannot be our own interpretation or our own feeling in response to a prayer. That’s now how the Holy Spirit speaks to us!

Joseph Smith fails this “more sure” test Peter talks about. Peter says the Old Testament prophecies are “more sure” then his personal eyewitness account of the glory of the Father and the Son.

Joseph Smith says that God told him polygamy was right, but God has already said in the past that polygamy was a sin.

It doesn’t matter how much he feels it.

It doesn’t matter if there is an angel with a flaming sword telling him to take multiple wives.

It contradicts what the Holy Spirit has already told us.

Therefore, it is wrong.

So, to all of the Mormons I have been able to talk to:

No, the Holy Spirit will not lie to you.

But he is not speaking to you in your own interpretation of the answer to your prayers.

He speaks to you in a “more sure” way.

The Holy Spirit speaks to you through Scripture.

The Old Scriptures of long ago!

Make Sure Your Faith Is In The “More Sure”

Joseph Smith says God told him polygamy was the way to go.

Today the Mormon church says it is not the way to go.

How do we know which way polygamy will go tomorrow?

If God told one man it was wrong and one man it was right then God is lying to someone!

And since all Mormons are so sure the Holy Spirit will not lie then there can be no contradiction.

Polygamy has been wrong since Genesis 2:24 when God commanded a man to be joined to his wife and the two of them to become one flesh.

Anyone who says something else must be the one who is lying.

But there’s more…

Not only did God speak to us by the prophets in the days long ago (Hebrews 1:1),

BUT in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son Jesus(Hebrews 1:2).

Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of his nature. (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus died for our sins, but he has risen from the dead and is now at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:4).

Make sure you have put your faith in Jesus. Not in another man. Not in a newer revelation. Not in the answer to your own prayers.

If your faith is not in Jesus…

…The Jesus who is the Son of the Father who exists in blessed trinity with the Holy Spirit….

Then you cannot be saved.

No matter what anyone else says.

This is what the Holy Spirit has already said.

“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” ~1 John 4:2

To my Christian brother and sisters, I pray God will equip all of us to talk with our Mormon friends and neighbors about their misplaced faith in their own prayers or the prayers of another man like Joseph Smith.

And if you are a Mormon reading this, make sure your faith is not in what God revealed to Joseph Smith or even to yourself.

Make sure your faith is in the revelation of Jesus Christ, eternal God who became man to make purification for your sins so that you might rise to a new life.

Please leave a comment below as I wrote this praying God will use it to spark a conversation that shines the lamp in a dark place. I would be happy to interact with you.

12 Responses to “Hey Mormons! Joseph Smith was a polygamist?!”

  • Emily Manning

    Great blog, Pastor Bobby! This will be helpful the next time I have a conversation with a Mormon.

  • Stacy Petersen

    OK. THIS, is AWESOME. I have two local missionaries I see at stores lately here in San Clemente. The first time I saw them I had strong compassion for them, coupled with anger that they were so self-deceived and now taking that deception and aggressively spreading it to my community. I went up to them and gently pleaded with them to consider the lie that they are currently living for, that they have been DUPED. One of them just looked at me blankly, with wide eyes, and the other one came back to me with just the response you mentioned: that the Holy Spirit had borne him testimony. GAHHHH! I was heartbroken, furious, and sadly, out of time, as I had my baby in tow and needed to hustle along. Then I saw them in another local store a couple weeks LATER! And I gave them strong eye contact and simply said, “Hi. You remember me?” And they said yes. And I nodded and moved on (because AGAIN, I was on a time crunch with my baby). I have played out in my head time and again what I could say the NEXT time I see them. And your blog post has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. Thank you, Pastor Bobby. Your blog spurs me on and gets me rallied and prayerful for my next evangelistic encounters!

    • Sydney Barys

      This article is very encouraging and now I know how to approach Mormons! On a side note, Stacy, you are amazing! Keep standing strong for Christ!!

  • Vianca McSwain

    Yup this was way rad! Thank you for taking time to write on this and speak truth on this! Super helpful! Thanks Pastor Bobby!

  • Laura Smith

    Thanks for writing this blog. I’m going to pray God gives me a chance to talk about what our faith is in with a Mormon soon!

  • Yes!! This is great! As someone with a close friend who is Mormon, and who has had many prolonged conversations with Mormon missionaries, I can affirm what’s written here about Mormon beliefs and their inherent contradictions to Scripture.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this blog and proclaim the truth about the Word of God and the TRUE Church that Jesus is building!

  • Brian Finn Du

    Awesome post, Pastor Bobby! This definitely gives clarity on how we can lovingly evangelize Mormons—not by arguing doctrine and semantics, but by getting to the core of the issue: Jesus Christ! I am definitely glad for such a Biblically founded argument; you leave nothing to the imagination, which leaves nothing to be questioned or confused.

    Definitely praying that I will be able to put into action the wisdom you’ve given! Let God build His kingdom here and now!

  • Sebastian Zornosa

    Spot on Pastor Bobby! Thank you for making this blog. It was extremely helpful and insightful on what Mormons believe! Looking forward and praying for open doors to share these truths with some Mormon friends!

  • Hunter Adamske

    Great blog Pastor Bobby! I was very encouraged by it! I am so glad I can rest my confidence and hope in the truth of God’s word and not in a subjective feeling!

  • Anonymous

    This is hardly an open-minded portrayal of a fellow christian religion, or any religion for that matter. Not only does this article misrepresent a faith, it discredits an entire group of people and justifies ill-feeling towards them. Just reading these comments and you can glean the passive-aggressive nature of it all. You write that the mormon church flip-flops on issues over the past 100 or so years, but while you are at it you might as well condemn Catholocism and every sect of christianity albeit the most extreme versions. Any church 250 years ago wouldn’t have batted an eye at a 40 year old man marrying and having kids with a 14 year old girl, so why dont they now? Progressivism. It is one thing to acknowledge a difference in two faiths and another to stereotype against them AND hide behind a passive-aggressive veil of superiority. Not a good image, and I hope you might one day rewrite this article and instead enlighten people of how amazing it is the mormon church is adopting transparency, rather than bash them for being the same as you.

  • Olivia

    Fantastic, on-point, very well-thought-out. There were so many arguments hit in these points, and I’m glad that you spent time to think about them! What matters is the truth, not if a group of people is changing to be “with the times” to fit in!

  • Anonymous

    I’m so disappointed in Compass’ view of other denominations.

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