On Celestial Marriage
The Prophet Brigham Young:
"The only men who become Gods, even Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy."
- Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 269
Church Publication, Millennial Star:
"We cannot be married...for eternity without subscribing to the law which admits a plurality of wives."
- Vol. 5, p. 15
The Prophet Joseph F. Smith:
" Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false...The marriage of one woman to a man for time and eternity by the sealing power, according to the law of God, is a fulfillment of the celestial law of marriage in part... But this is only the beginning of the law, not the whole of it. Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fulness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it.
- Journal of Discourses, Vol. 20, p. 28
The Prophet Brigham Young:
" Now, where a man in this Church says, "I don't want but one wife, I will have my religion with one," he will perhaps be saved in the Celestial Kingdom; but when he gets there, he will not find himself in possession of any wife at all. He has had a talent that he has hid up. He will come forward and say, "Here is that which thou gavest me. I have not wasted it, and here is the one talent," and he will not enjoy it, but it will be taken and given to those who improved the talents they received, and he will find himself without any wife, and he will remain single forever and ever."
- Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16, p. 166
Bishop Samuel Wooley:
The spirit told me...that that revelation was of God and that no man could or would receive a fulness of Celestial Glory except he obeyed that law and had more than one living wife at the same time.
- Historical Record, Vol. 6, p. 166
Writer Joseph W. Musser:
"A tradition has grown among the Latter-Day Saints that Celestial Marriage may be comprehended in either the monogamous or the patriarchal form, when the ceremony is preformed under the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, and by one so authorized. True, a marriage performed for time and eternity, by an authorized servant of the Lord and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, is of a celestial nature as it is intended to extend into the Celestial sphere; But it is equally true that the full and complete act of celestial marriage comprehends a plurality of wives and cannot be complete in the monogamic form. The title first given to the Revelation on Celestial Plural Marriage was, "A Revelation on the Patriarchal Order of Matrimony, including Plurality of Wives." Patriarchal marriage means the kind of marriage entered into anciently by such Patriarchs as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and others and has reference to a plurality of wives."
The Prophet Brigham Young:
"It is the word of the Lord, and I wish to say to you, and all the world, if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists — at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained. This is as true as that God lives."
- Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 268
Elder George Teasdale:
"Where you have the eternity of marriage, you are bound to have plural marriage, bound to; and it is one of the marks of the Church of Jesus Christ in its sealing ordinances.
- Journal of Discourses, Vol 25, p. 21
A Sermon Delivered on 29 August 1852
From Journal of Discourses, 26 vols, I:53-66
It is quite unexpected to me, brethren and sisters, to be called upon to address you this forenoon; and still more so, to address you upon the principle which has been named, namely, a plurality of wives.
It is rather new ground for me; that is, I have not been in the habit of publicly speaking upon this subject; and it is rather new ground to the inhabitants of the United States, and not only to them, but to a portion of the inhabitants of Europe; a portion of them have not been in the habit of preaching a doctrine of this description; consequently, we shall have to break up new ground.
It is well known, however, to the congregation before me, that the Latter-day Saints have embraced the doctrine of a plurality of wives, as a part of their religious faith. It is not, as many have supposed, a doctrine embraced by them to gratify the carnal lusts and feelings of man; that is not the object of the doctrine.
We shall endeavour to set forth before this enlightened assembly some of the causes why the Almighty has revealed such a doctrine, and why it is considered a part and portion of our religious faith. And I believe that they will not, under our present form of government, (I mean the government of the United States,) try us for treason for believing and practising our religious notions and ideas. I think, if I am not mistaken, that the constitution gives the privilege to all the inhabitants of this country, of the free exercise of their religious notions, and the freedom of their faith, and the practice of it. Then, if it can be proven to a demonstration, that the Latter-day Saints have actually embraced, as a part and portion of their religion, the doctrine of a plurality of wives, it is constitutional. And should there ever be laws enacted by this government to restrict them from the free exercise of this part of their religion, such laws must be unconstitutional.
But, says the objector, we cannot see how this doctrine can be embraced as a matter of religion and faith; we can hardly conceive how it can be embraced only as a kind of domestic concern, something that pertains to domestic pleasures, in no way connected with religion. In reply we will show you that it is incorporated as a part of our religion, and necessary for our exaltation to the fulness of the Lord's glory in the eternal world. Would you like to know the reasons? Before we get through, we will endeavour to tell you why we consider it an essential doctrine to glory and exaltation, to our fulness of happiness in the world to come.
We will first make a few preliminary remarks in regard to the existence of man, to his first existence in his first estate; and then say something in relation to his present state, and the bearing which it has upon his next or future state.
The "Mormons" have a peculiar doctrine in regard to our pre-existence, different from the views of the Christian world, so called, who do not believe that man had a pre-existence. It is believed, by the religious world, that man, both body and spirit, begins to live about the time that he is born into this world, or a little before; that then is the beginning of life. They believe, that the Lord, by a direct act of creation, formed, in the first place, man out of the dust of the ground; and they believe that man is possessed of both body and spirit, by the union of which he became a living creature. Suppose we admit this doctrine concerning the formation of the body from the dust; then how was the spirit formed? Why, says one, we suppose it was made by a direct act of creation, by the Almighty Himself; that He moulded the spirit of man, formed and finished it in a proper likeness to inhabit the tabernacle He had made out of the dust.
Have you any account of this in the Bible? Do the Scriptures declare that the spirit was formed at the time the tabernacle was made? No. All the tabernacles of the children of men that were ever formed, from remote generations, from the days of Adam to this time, have been formed out of the earth. We are of the earth earthy. The tabernacle has been organized according to certain principles, and laws of organization, with bones, and flesh, and sinews, and skin. Now, where do you suppose all these tabernacles got their spirits? Does the Lord make a new spirit every time a tabernacle is made? if so, the work of creation, according to the belief of Christendom, did not cease on the seventh day. If we admit their views, the Lord must be continually making spirits to inhabit all the tabernacles of the children of men; he must make something like one thousand millions of spirits every century; he must be working at it every day, for there are many hundreds of individuals being born into the world every day. Does the Lord create a new spirit every time a new tabernacle comes into the world? That does not look reasonable, nor God-like.
But how is it, you inquire? Why the fact is, that being that animates this body, that gives life and energy, and power to move, to act, and to think: that being that dwells within this tabernacle is much older than what the tabernacle is. That spirit that now dwells within each man, and each woman, of this vast assembly of people, is more than a thousand years old, and I would venture to say, that it is more than five thousand years old.
But how was it made? when was it made? and by whom was it made? If our spirits existed thousands of years ago—if they began to exist—if there were a beginning to their organization, by what process was this organization carried on? Through what medium, and by what system of laws? Was it by a direct creation of the Almighty? Or were we framed according to a certain system of laws, in the same manner as our tabernacles? If we were to reason from analogy—if we admit analogical reasoning in the question, what would we say? We should say, that our spirits were formed by generation, the same as the body or tabernacle of flesh and bones. But what says revelation upon the subject? We will see whether revelation and analogy will agree.
We read of a certain time when the corner stones of the earth were laid, and the foundations thereof were made sure—of a certain time when the Lord began to erect this beautiful and glorious habitation, the earth; then they had a time of joy. I do not know whether they had instruments of music, or whether they were engaged in the dance; but one thing is certain, they had great joy, and the heavens resounded with their shouts; yea, the Lord told Job, that all the sons of God shouted for joy, and the morning stars sang together, when the foundations of this globe were laid.
The SONS of God, recollect, shouted for joy, because there was a beautiful habitation being built, so that they could get tabernacles, and dwell thereon; they expected the time—they looked forward to the period; and it was joyful to them to reflect, that the creation was about being formed, the corner stone of it was laid, on which they might, in their times, and in their seasons, and in their generations, go forth and receive tabernacles for their spirits to dwell in. Do you bring it home to yourselves, brethren and sisters? Do you realize that you and I were there? Can you bring it to your minds that you and I were among that happy number that shouted for joy when this creation was made? Says one, I don't recollect it. No wonder! for your recollection is taken from you, because you are in a tabernacle that is earthly; and all this is right and necessary. The same is written of Jesus Christ himself, who had to descend below all things. Though he had wisdom to assist in the organization of this world; though it was through him, as the great leader of all these sons of God, the earth was framed, and framed too, by the assistance of all his younger brethren—yet we find, with all that great and mighty power he possessed, and the great and superior wisdom that was in his bosom, that after all, his judgment had to be taken away; in his humiliation, his reason, his intelligence, his knowledge, and the power that he was formerly in possession of, vanished from him as he entered into the infant tabernacle. He was obliged to begin down at the lowest principles of knowledge, and ascend upward by degrees, receiving grace for grace, truth for truth, knowledge for knowledge, until he was filled with all the fulness of the Father, and was capable of ruling, governing, and controlling all things, having ascended above all things. Just so with us; we that once lifted up our united voices as sons and daughters of God, and shouted for joy at the laying of the foundation of this earth, have come here and taken tabernacles, after the pattern of our elder brother; and in our humiliation—for it is humiliation to be deprived of knowledge we once had, and the power we once enjoyed—in our humiliation, just like our elder brother, our judgment is taken away. Do we not read also in the Bible, that God is the Father of our spirits?
We have ascertained that we have had a previous existence. We find that Solomon, that wise man, says that when the body returns to the dust, the spirit returns to God who gave it. Now all of this congregation very well know, that if we never existed there, we could not return there. I could not return to California. Why? Because I never have been there. If you never were with the Father, the same as Jesus was before the foundation of the world, you never could return there, any more than I could to the West Indies, where I have never been. But if we have once been there, then we can see the force of the saying of the wise man, that the spirit returns to God who gave it—it goes back where it once was.
Much more evidence might be derived in relation to this subject, even from the English translation of the Bible; but I do not feel disposed to dwell too long upon any particular testimony; suffice it to say, that the Prophet Joseph Smith's translation of the fore part of the book of Genesis is in print, and is exceedingly plain upon this matter. In this inspired translation we find the pre-existence of man clearly laid down, and that the spirits of all men, male and female, did have an existence, before man was formed out of the dust of the ground. But who was their Father? I have already quoted a saying that God is the Father of our spirits.
In one sense of the word, there are more Gods than one; and in another sense there is but one God. The Scriptures speak of more Gods than one. Moses was called a God to Aaron, in plain terms; and our Saviour, when speaking upon this subject, says, "If the Scriptures called them Gods unto whom the word of God came, why is it that you should seek to persecute me, and kill me, because I testify that I am the Son of God?" This in substance was the word of our Saviour; those to whom the word of God came, are called Gods, according to his testimony. All these beings of course are one, the same as the Father and the Son are one. The Son is called God, and so is the Father, and in some places the Holy Ghost is called God. They are one in power, in wisdom, in knowledge, and in the inheritance of celestial glory; they are one in their works; they possess all things, and all things are subject to them; they act in unison; and if one has power to become the Father of spirits, so has another; if one God can propagate his species, and raise up spirits after his own image and likeness, and call them his sons and daughters, so can all other Gods that become like him, do the same thing; consequently, there will be many Fathers, and there will be many families, and many sons and daughters; and they will be the children of those glorified, celestial beings that are counted worthy to be Gods.
Here let me bring for the satisfaction of the Saints, the testimony of the vision given to our Prophet and Revelator Joseph Smith, and Sidney Rigdon, on the 16th day of February, 1832. They were engaged in translating the New Testament, by inspiration; and while engaged in this great work, they came to the 29th verse of the 5th chapter of John, which was given to them in these words—"they who have done good, in the resurrection of the just; and they who have done evil in the resurrection of the unjust." This being given in different words from the English translation, caused them to marvel and wonder; and they lifted up their hearts in prayer to God, that He would show them why it was that this should be given to them in a different manner; and behold, the visions of heaven opened before them. They gazed upon the eternal worlds, and saw things before this world was made. They saw the spiritual creation who were to come forth and take upon themselves bodies; and they saw things as they are to be in the future; they saw the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial worlds, as well as the sufferings of the ungodly; all passed before them in this great and glorious vision. And while they were yet gazing upon things as they were before the world was made, they were commanded to write, saying, "this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him, that he lives; for we saw him, even on the right hand of God: and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father; that by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created; and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters of God." Notice this last expression, "the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God," (meaning the different worlds that have been created and made.) Notice, this does not say, that God, whom we serve and worship, was actually the Father Himself, in His own person, of all these sons and daughters of the different worlds; but they "are begotten sons and daughters unto God;" that is, begotten by those who are made like Him, after His image, and in His likeness; they begat sons and daughters, and begat them unto God, to inhabit these different worlds we have been speaking of. But more of this, if we have time, before we get through.
We now come to the second division of our subject, or the entrance of these spirits upon their second estate, or their birth and existence in mortal tabernacles. We are told that among this great family of spirits, some were more noble and great than others, having more intelligence.
Where do you read that? says one. Out of the Book of Abraham, translated from the Egyptian papyrus by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Among the great and numerous family of spirits—"the begotten sons and daughters of God"—there are some more intelligent than others; and the Lord showed unto Abraham "the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones." And God said to Abraham, "thou art one of them, thou wast chosen before thou wast born." Abraham was chosen before he was born. Here then, is knowledge, if we had time to notice it, upon the doctrine of election. However, I may just remark, it does not mean unconditional election to eternal life of a certain class, and the rest doomed to eternal damnation. Suffice it to say, that Abraham and many others of the great and noble ones in the family of spirits, were chosen before they were born, for certain purposes, to bring about certain works, to have the privilege of coming upon the stage of action, among the host of men, in favorable circumstances. Some came through good and holy parentages, to fulfil certain things the Lord decreed should come to pass, from before the foundations of the world.
The Lord has ordained that these spirits should come here and take tabernacles by a certain law, through a certain channel; and that law is the law of marriage. There are a great many things that I will pass by; I perceive that if I were to touch upon all these principles, the time allotted for this discourse would be too short, therefore I am under the necessity of passing by many things in relation to these spirits in their first estate, and the laws that governed them there, and come to their second estate.
The Lord ordained marriage between male and female as a law through which spirits should come here and take tabernacles, and enter into the second state of existence. The Lord Himself solemnized the first marriage pertaining to this globe, and pertaining to flesh and bones here upon this earth. I do not say pertaining to mortality; for when the first marriage was celebrated, no mortality was there. The first marriage that we have any account of, was between two immortal beings—old father Adam and old mother Eve; they were immortal beings; death had no dominion, no power over them; they were capable of enduring for ever and ever, in their organization. Had they fulfilled the law, and kept within certain conditions and bounds, their tabernacles would never have been seized by death; death entered entirely by sin, and sin alone. This marriage was celebrated between two immortal beings. For how long? Until death? No. That was entirely out of the question; there could have been no such thing in the ceremony.
What would you consider, my hearers, if a marriage was to be celebrated between two beings not subject to death? Would you consider them joined together for a certain number of years, and that then all their covenants were to cease for ever, and the marriage contract be dissolved? Would it look reasonable and consistent? No. Every heart would say that the work of God is perfect in and of itself, and inasmuch as sin had not brought imperfection upon the globe, what God joined together could not be dissolved, and destroyed, and torn asunder by any power beneath the celestial world, consequently it was eternal; the ordinance of union was eternal; the sealing of the great Jehovah upon Adam and Eve was eternal in its nature, and was never instituted for the purpose of being overthrown and brought to an end. It is known that the "Mormons" are a peculiar people about marriage; we believe in marrying, not only for time, but for all eternity. This is a curious idea, says one, to be married for all eternity. It is not curious at all; for when we come to examine the Scriptures, we find that the very first example set for the whole human family, as a pattern instituted for us to follow, was not instituted until death, for death had no dominion at that time; but it was an eternal blessing pronounced upon our first parents. I have not time to explain further the marriage of Adam and Eve, but will pass on to their posterity.
It is true, that they became fallen, but there is a redemption. But some may consider that the redemption only redeemed us in part, that is, merely from some of the effects of the fall. But this is not the case; every man and woman must see at once that a redemption must include a complete restoration of all privileges lost by the fall.
Suppose, then, that the fall was of such a nature as to dissolve the marriage covenant, by death—which is not necessary to admit, for the covenant was sealed previous to the fall, and we have no account that it was dissolved—but suppose this was the case, would not the redemption be equally as broad as the fall, to restore the posterity of Adam back to that which they lost? And if Adam and Eve were married for all eternity, the ceremony was an everlasting ordinance, that they twain should be one flesh for ever. If you and I should ever be accounted worthy to be restored back from our fallen and degraded condition to the privileges enjoyed before the fall, should we not have an everlasting marriage seal, as it was with our first progenitors? If we had no other reasons in all the Bible, this would be sufficient to settle the case at once in the mind of every reflecting man and woman, that inasmuch as the fall of man has taken away any privileges in regard to the union of male and female, these privileges must be restored in the redemption of man, or else it is not complete.
What is the object of this union? is the next question. We are told the object of it; it is clearly expressed; for, says the Lord unto the male and female, I command you to multiply and replenish the earth. And, inasmuch as we have proved that the marriage ordinance was eternal in its nature, previous to the fall, if we are restored back to what was lost by the fall, we are restored for the purpose of carrying out the commandment given before the fall, namely, to multiply and replenish the earth. Does it say, continue to multiply for a few years, and then the marriage contract must cease, and there shall be no further opportunity of carrying out this command, but it shall have an end? No, there is nothing specified of this kind; but the fall has brought in disunion through death; it is not a part of the original plan; consequently, when male and female are restored from the fall, by virtue of the everlasting and eternal covenant of marriage, they will continue to increase and multiply to all ages of eternity, to raise up beings after their own order, and in their own likeness and image, germs of intelligence, that are destined, in their times and seasons, to become not only sons of God, but Gods themselves.
This accounts for the many worlds we heard Elder Grant speaking about yesterday afternoon. The peopling of worlds, or an endless increase, even of one family, would require an endless increase of worlds; and if one family were to be united in the eternal covenant of marriage, to fulfil that great commandment, to multiply his species, and propagate them, and if there be no end to the increase of his posterity, it would call for an endless increase of new worlds. And if one family calls for this, what would innumerable millions of families call for? They would call for as many worlds as have already been discovered by the telescope; yea, the number must be multiplied to infinity in order that there may be room for the inheritance of the sons and daughters of the Gods.
Do you begin to understand how these worlds get their inhabitants? Have you learned that the sons and daughters of God before me this day, are His offspring—made after His own image; that they are to multiply their species until they become innumerable?
Let us say a few words, before we leave this part of the subject, on the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The promises were, Lift up your eyes, and behold the stars; so thy seed shall be, as numberless as the stars. What else did He promise? Go to the sea-shore, and look at the ocean of sand, and behold the smallness of the particles thereof, and then realize that your seed shall be as numberless as the sands. Now let us take this into consideration. How large a bulk of sand would it take to make as many inhabitants as there are now upon the earth? In about one cubic foot of sand, reckoning the grains of a certain size, there would be a thousand million particles. Now that is about the estimated population of our globe. If our earth were to continue 8,000 years, or eighty centuries, with an average population of one thousand millions per century, then three cubic yards of sand would contain a greater number of particles than the whole population of the globe, from the beginning, until the measure of the inhabitants of this creation is complete. If men then cease to multiply, where is the promise made to Abraham? Is it fulfilled? No. If that is the end of his increase, behold, the Lord's promise is not fulfilled. For the amount of sand representing his seed, might all be drawn in a one-horse cart; and yet the Lord said to Abraham, thy seed shall be as numerous as the sand upon the seashore; that is, to carry out the idea in full, it was to be endless; and therefore, there must be an infinity of worlds for their residence. We cannot comprehend infinity. But suffice it to say, if all the sands on the seashore were numbered, says the Prophet Enoch, and then all the particles of the earth besides, and then the particles of millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to all thy creations; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and thy curtains are stretched out still. This gives plenty of room for the fulfilment of the promise made to Abraham, and enough to spare for the fulfilment of similar promises to all his seed.
We read that those who do the works of Abraham, are to be blessed with the blessing of Abraham. Have you not, in the ordinances of this last dispensation, had the blessings of Abraham pronounced upon your heads? O yes, you say, I well recollect, since God has restored the everlasting Priesthood, that by a certain ordinance these blessings were placed upon our heads—the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Why, says one, I never thought of it in this light before. Why did you not think of it? Why not look upon Abraham's blessings as your own, for the Lord blessed him with a promise of seed as numerous as the sand upon the seashore; so will you be blessed, or else you will not inherit the blessings of Abraham.
How did Abraham manage to get a foundation laid for this mighty kingdom? Was he to accomplish it all through one wife? No. Sarah gave a certain woman to him whose name was Hagar, and by her a seed was to be raised up unto him. Is this all? No. We read of his wife Keturah, and also of a plurality of wives and concubines, which he had, from whom he raised up many sons. Here then, was a foundation laid for the fulfilment of the great and grand promise concerning the multiplicity of his seed. It would have been rather a slow process, if Abraham had been confined to one wife, like some of those narrow, contracted nations of modern Christianity.
I think there is only about one-fifth of the population of the globe, that believe in the one-wife system; the other four-fifths believe in the doctrine of a plurality of wives. They have had it handed down from time immemorial, and are not half so narrow and contracted in their minds as some of the nations of Europe and America, who have done away with the promises, and deprived themselves of the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The nations do not know anything about the blessings of Abraham; and even those who have only one wife, cannot get rid of their covetousness, and get their little hearts large enough to share their property with a numerous family; they are so penurious, and so narrow and contracted in their feelings, that they take every possible care not to have their families large; they do not know what is in the future, nor what blessings they are depriving themselves of, because of the traditions of their fathers; they do not know that a man's posterity, in the eternal worlds, are to constitute his glory, his kingdom, and dominion.
Here, then, we perceive, just from this one principle, reasoning from the blessings of Abraham alone, the necessity—if we would partake of the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—of doing their works; and he that will not do the works of Abraham, and walk in his footsteps, will be deprived of his blessings.
Again, let us look at Sarah's peculiar position in regard to Abraham. She understood the whole matter; she knew that, unless seed was raised up to Abraham, he would come short of his glory; and she understood the promise of the Lord, and longed for Abraham to have seed. And when she saw that she was old, and fearing that she should not have the privilege of raising up seed, she gave to Abraham, Hagar. Would Gentile Christendom do such things now-a-days? O no; they would consider it enough to send a man to an endless hell of fire and brimstone. Why? Because tradition has instilled this in their minds as a dreadful, awful thing.
It matters not to them how corrupt they are in female prostitution, if they are lawfully married to only one wife; but it would be considered an awful thing by them to raise up a posterity from more than one wife; this would be wrong indeed; but to go into a brothel, and there debauch themselves in the lowest haunts of degradation all the days of their lives, they consider only a trifling thing; nay, they can even license such institutions in Christian nations, and it all passes off very well.
That is tradition; and their posterity have been fostered and brought up in the footsteps of wickedness. This is death, as it stalks abroad among the great and popular cities of Europe and America.
Do you find such haunts of prostitution, degradation, and misery here, in the cities of the mountains? No. Were such things in our midst, we should feel indignant enough to see that such persons be blotted out of the page of existence. These would be the feelings of this community.
Look upon those who committed such iniquity in Israel, in ancient days; every man and woman who committed adultery were put to death. O do not say that this people are going to do this; but I will tell you what we believe—we believe it ought to be done.
Whoredom, adultery, and fornication, have cursed the nations of the earth for many generations, and are increasing fearfully upon the community; but they must be entirely done away from those who call themselves the people of God; if they are not, woe! woe! be unto them, also; for "thus saith the Lord God Almighty," in the Book of Mormon, "Woe unto them that commit whoredoms, for they shall be thrust down to hell!" There is no getting away from it. Such things will not be allowed in this community; and such characters will find, that the time will come, that God, whose eyes are upon all the children of men, and who discerneth the things that are done in secret, will bring their acts to light; and they will be made an example before the people; and shame and infamy will cleave to their posterity after them, unto the third and fourth generation of them that repent not.
How is this to be prevented? for we have got a fallen nature to grapple with. It is to be prevented in the way the Lord devised in ancient times; that is, by giving to His faithful servants a plurality of wives, by which a numerous and faithful posterity can be raised up, and taught in the principles of righteousness and truth, and then, after they fully understand those principles that were given to the ancient Patriarchs, if they keep not the law of God, but commit adultery, and transgression of this kind, let their names be blotted out from under heaven, that they may have no place among the people of God.
But again, there is another reason why this plurality should exist among the Latter-day Saints. I have already given you one reason, and that is, that you might inherit the blessings and promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and receive a continuation of your posterity, that they may become as numerous as the sand upon the seashore. There is another reason, and a good one, too. What do you suppose it is? I will tell you; and it will appear reasonable to every man and woman of a reflecting mind.
Do we not believe, as the Scriptures have told us, that the wicked nations of the earth are doomed to destruction? Yes, we believe it. Do we not also believe, as the Prophets have foretold, concerning the last days, as well as what the new revelations have said upon the subject, that darkness prevails upon the earth, and gross darkness upon the minds of the people; and not only this, but that all flesh has corrupted its way upon the face of the earth; that is, that all nations, speaking of them as nations, have corrupted themselves before the Most High God, by their wickedness, whoredoms, idolatries, abominations, adulteries, and all other kinds of wickedness? And we furthermore believe, that according to the Jewish Prophets, as well as the Book of Mormon, and modern revelations given in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that the sword of the vengeance of the Almighty is already unsheathed, and stretched out, and will no more be put back into the scabbard until it falls upon the head of the nations until they are destroyed, except they repent. What else do we believe? We believe that God is gathering out from among these nations those who will hearken to His voice, and receive the proclamation of the Gospel, to establish them as a people alone by themselves, where they can be instructed in the right way, and brought to the knowledge of the truth. Very well; if this be the case, that the righteous are gathering out, and are still being gathered from among the nations, and being planted by themselves, one thing is certain—that that people are better calculated to bring up children in the right way, than any other under the whole heavens. O yes, says one, if that is the case—if you are the people the ancient Prophets have spoken of, if you are the people that are guided by the Lord, if you are under the influence, power, and guidance of the Almighty, you must be the best people under heaven, to dictate the young mind: but what has that to do with the plurality of wives?
I will tell you. I have already told you that the spirits of men and women, all had a previous existence, thousands of years ago, in the heavens, in the presence of God; and I have already told you that among them are many spirits that are more noble, more intelligent than others, that were called the great and mighty ones, reserved until the dispensation of the fulness of times, to come forth upon the face of the earth, through a noble parentage that shall train their young and tender minds in the truths of eternity, that they may grow up in the Lord, and be strong in the power of His might, be clothed upon with His glory, be filled with exceeding great faith; that the visions of eternity may be opened to their minds; that they may be Prophets, Priests, and Kings to the Most High God. Do you believe, says one, that they are reserved until the last dispensation, for such a noble purpose? Yes; and among the Saints is the most likely place for these spirits to take their tabernacles, through a just and righteous parentage. They are to be sent to that people that are the most righteous of any other people upon the earth; there to be trained up properly, according to their nobility and intelligence, and according to the laws which the Lord ordained before they were born. This is the reason why the Lord is sending them here, brethren and sisters; they are appointed to come and take their bodies here, that in their generations they may be raised up among the righteous. The Lord has not kept them in store for five or six thousand years past, and kept them waiting for their bodies all this time to send them among the Hottentots, the African negroes, the idolatrous Hindoos, or any other of the fallen nations that dwell upon the face of this earth. They are not kept in reserve in order to come forth to receive such a degraded parentage upon the earth; no, the Lord is not such a being; His justice, goodness, and mercy will be magnified towards those who were chosen before they were born; and they long to come, and they will come among the Saints of the living God; this would be their highest pleasure and joy, to know that they could have the privilege of being born of such noble parentage.
Then is it not reasonable, and consistent that the Lord should say unto His faithful and chosen servants, that had proved themselves before Him all the day long; that had been ready and willing to do whatsoever His will required them to perform—take unto yourselves more wives, like unto the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of old—like those who lived in ancient times, who walked in my footsteps, and kept my commands? Why should they not do this? Suppose the Lord should answer this question, would He not say, I have here in reserve, noble spirits, that have been waiting for thousands of years, to come forth in the fulness of times, and which I designed should come forth through these my faithful and chosen servants, for I know they will do my will, and they will teach their children after them to do it. Would not this be the substance of the language, if the Lord should give us an answer upon this subject?
But then another question will arise: how are these things to be conducted? Are they to be left at random? Is every servant of God at liberty to run here and there, seeking out the daughters of men as wives unto themselves without any restriction, law, or condition? No. We find these things were restricted in ancient times. Do you not recollect the circumstance of the Prophet Nathan's coming to David? He came to reprove him for certain disobedience, and told him about the wives he had lost through it; that the Lord would give them to another; and he told him, if he had been faithful, that the Lord would have given him still more, if he had only asked for them. Nathan the Prophet, in relation to David, was the man that held the keys concerning this matter in ancient days; and it was governed by the strictest laws.
So in these days; let me announce to this congregation, that there is but one man in all the world, at the same time, who can hold the keys of this matter; but one man has power to turn the key to inquire of the Lord, and to say whether I, or these my brethren, or any of the rest of this congregation, or the Saints upon the face of the whole earth, may have this blessing of Abraham conferred upon them; he holds the keys of these matters now, the same as Nathan, in his day.
But, says one, how have you obtained this information? By new revelation. When was it given, and to whom? It was given to our Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, Joseph Smith, on the 12th day of July, 1843; only about eleven months before he was martyred for the testimony of Jesus.
He held the keys of these matters; he had the right to inquire of the Lord; and the Lord has set bounds and restrictions to these things; He has told us in that revelation, that only one man can hold these keys upon the earth at the same time; and they belong to that man who stands at the head to preside over all the affairs of the Church and kingdom of God in the last days. They are the sealing keys of power, or in other words, of Elijah, having been committed and restored to the earth by Elijah, the Prophet, who held many keys, among which were the keys of sealing, to bind the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers; together with all the other sealing keys and powers, pertaining to the last dispensation. They were committed by that Angel who administered in the Kirtland Temple, and spoke unto Joseph the Prophet, at the time of the endowments in that house.
Now, let us enquire, what will become of those individuals who have this law taught unto them in plainness, if they reject it? [A voice in the stand, "they will be damned."] I will tell you: they will be damned, saith the Lord God Almighty, in the revelation He has given. Why? Because where much is given, much is required; where there is great knowledge unfolded for the exaltation, glory, and happiness of the sons and daughters of God, if they close up their hearts, if they reject the testimony of His word, and will not give heed to the principles He has ordained for their good, they are worthy of damnation, and the Lord has said they shall be damned. This was the word of the Lord to His servant Joseph the Prophet himself. With all the knowledge and light he had, he must comply with it, or, says the Lord unto him, you shall be damned; and the same is true in regard to all those who reject these things.
What else have we heard from our President? He has related to us that there are some damnations that are eternal in their nature; while others are but for a certain period, they will have an end, they will not receive a restoration to their former privileges, but a deliverance from certain punishments; and instead of being restored to all the privileges pertaining to man previous to the fall, they will only be permitted to enjoy a certain grade of happiness, not a full restoration. Let us inquire after those who are to be damned, admitting they will be redeemed, which they will be, unless they have sinned against the Holy Ghost. They will be redeemed, but what will it be to? Will it be to exaltation, and to a fulness of glory? Will it be to become the sons of God, or Gods to reign upon thrones, and multiply their posterity, and reign over them as kings? No, it will not. They have lost that exalted privilege for ever; though they may, after having been punished for long periods, escape by the skin of their teeth; but no kingdom will be conferred upon them. What will be their condition? I will tell you what revelation says, not only concerning them that reject these things, but concerning those that through their carelessness, or want of faith, or something else, have failed to have their marriages sealed for time and for all eternity: those that do not do these things, so as to have the same ordinances sealed upon their heads by divine authority, as was upon the head of old Father Adam—if they fail to do it through wickedness, through their ungodliness, behold, they also will never have the privilege of possessing that which is possessed by the Gods that hold the keys of power, of coming up to the thrones of their exaltation, and receiving their kingdoms. Why? Because, saith the Lord, all oaths, all covenants, and all agreements, &c., that have been made by man, and not by me, and by the authority I have established, shall cease when death shall separate the parties; that is the end; that is the cessation; they go no further; and such a person cannot come up in the morning of the resurrection, and say, Behold, I claim you as my wife; you are mine; I married you in the other world before death; therefore you are mine: he cannot say this. Why? Because he never married that person for eternity.
Suppose they should enter into covenant and agreement, and conclude between themselves to live together to all eternity, and never have it sealed by the Lord's sealing power, by the Holy Priesthood, would they have any claim on each other in the morning of the resurrection? No; it would not be valid nor legal, and the Lord would say, It was not by me; your covenants were not sealed on the earth, and therefore they are not sealed in the heavens; they are not recorded on my book; they are not to be found in the records that are in the archives of eternity; therefore the blessings you might have had, are not for you to enjoy. What will be their condition? The Lord has told us. He says these are angels; because they keep not this law, they shall be ministering servants unto those who are worthy of obtaining a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; wherefore, saith the Lord, they shall remain singly and separately in their saved condition, and shall not have power to enlarge themselves, and thus shall they remain forever and ever.
Here, then, you can read their history; they are not Gods, but they are angels or servants to the Gods. There is a difference between the two classes; the Gods are exalted; they hold keys of power; are made Kings and Priests; and this power is conferred upon them in time, by the everlasting Priesthood, to hold a kingdom in eternity that shall never be taken from them worlds without end; and they will propagate their species. They are not servants; for one God is not to be a servant to another God; they are not angels; and this is the reason why Paul said, Know ye not, brethren, that we shall judge angels? Angels are inferior to the Saints who are exalted as Kings. These angels who are to be judged, and to become servants to the Gods, did not keep the law, therefore, though they are saved, they are to be servants to those who are in a higher condition.
What does the Lord intend to do with this people? He intends to make them a kingdom of Kings and Priests, a kingdom unto Himself, or in other words, a kingdom of Gods, if they will hearken to His law. There will be many who will not hearken; there will be the foolish among the wise, who will not receive the new and everlasting covenant in its fulness: and they never will attain to their exaltation; they never will be counted worthy to hold the sceptre of power over a numerous progeny, that shall multiply themselves without end, like the sand upon the sea shore.
We can only touch here and there upon this great subject, we can only offer a few words with regard to this great, sublime, beautiful, and glorious doctrine, which has been revealed by the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, Joseph Smith, who sealed his testimony with his blood, and thus revealed to the nations, things that were in ancient times, as well as things that are to come.
But while I talk, the vision of my mind is opened; the subject spreads forth and branches out like the branches of a thrifty tree; and as for the glory of God, how great it is! I feel to say, Hallelujah to His great and holy name; for He reigns in the heavens, and He will exalt His people to sit with Him upon thrones of power, to reign for ever and ever. Amen
"The 27 Rules of Celestial Marriage"
By Apostle Orson Pratt
From The Seer I [November 1853]: 173-76; 1 [December 1853]: 183-87
Inasmuch as the saints in Utah consider it moral, virtuous, and scriptural, to practice the plurality system, they should seek by every means to eradicate, not only from their own minds, but from the minds of their children, every erroneous improper prejudice which they have formerly imbibed, by their associations with the nations of modern Christendom· Parents who have daughters should seek to instil into their minds, that it is just as honorable for them to be united in marriage to a good man who is already a husband, as to one that is single: they should be taught to reject the society and proposals for marriage of all wicked men, whether single or not. A father should be impartial to all his children, and cultivate the same love for them all; while each wife should instil into the minds of her own children the necessity of loving the children of each of the others, as brothers and sisters. Each wife should, not only care for the welfare of her husband and her own children, but should also seek the happiness of each of his other wives and children· And likewise, the children of each wife should not only represent, honor, and love their own mother, but also the mothers of all their brothers and sisters. By observing these precepts, peace and tranquility will reign throughout every department of the family, and the spirit of God will flow freely from heart to heart.
Nothing is so much to be desired in families as peace, love, and union: they are essential to happiness here and hereafter. And, in order to promote these desirable objects, we would recommend the observance of the following rules.
Rule 1st.—Let that man who intends to become a husband, seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and learn to govern himself, according to the law of God: for he that cannot govern himself cannot govern others: let him dedicate his property, his talents, his time, and even his life to the service of God, holding all things at His disposal, to do with the same, according as He shall direct through the counsel that He has ordained.
Rule 2nd.—Let him next seek for wisdom to direct him in the choice of his wives. Let him seek for those whose qualifications will render him and themselves happy· Let him look not wholly at the beauty of the countenance, or the splendor of the apparel, or the great fortune, or the artful smiles, or the affected modesty of females; for all these, without the genuine virtues, are like the dew-drops which glitter for a moment in the sun, and dazzle the eye, but soon vanish away. But let him look for kind and amiable dispositions; for unaffected modesty; for industrious habits; for sterling virtue; for honesty, integrity, and truthfulness; for cleanliness in persons, in apparel, in cooking, and in every kind of domestic labor; for cheerfulness, patience, and stability of character; and above all, for genuine religion to control and govern their every thought and deed. When he has found those possessing these qualifications let him seek to obtain them lawfully through the counsel of him who holds the keys of the everlasting priesthood, that they may be married to him by the authority of Heaven, and thus be secured to him for time and for all eternity.
Rule 3rd.—When a man has obtained his wives, let him not suppose that they are already perfect in all things; for this cannot be expected in those who are young and inexperienced in the cares and vicissitudes of a married life. They, as weaker vessels, are given to him as the stronger, to nourish, cherish, and protect; to be their head, their patriarch, and their saviour; to teach, instruct, counsel, and perfect them in all things relating to family government, and the welfare and happiness of themselves and their children. Therefore, let him realize the weighty responsibility now placed upon him, as the head of a family; and also let him study diligently the disposition of his wives, that he may know how to instruct them in wisdom for their good.
Rule 4th.—Betray not the confidence of your wives. There are many ideas in an affectionate confiding wife which she would wish to communicate to her husband, and yet she would be very unwilling to have them communicated to others. Keep each of your wives' secrets from all the others, and from any one else, unless in cases where good will result by doing otherwise.
Rule 5th.—Speak not of the faults of your wives to others; for in so doing, you speak against yourself. If you speak to one of your wives of the imperfections of the others who may be absent, you not only injure them in her estimation, but she will expect that you will speak against her under like circumstances: this is calculated to weaken their confidence in you, and sow division in the family. Tell each one of her faults in private in a spirit of kindness and love, and she will most probably respect you for it, and endeavor to do better for the future; and thus the others will not, because of your reproof, take occasion to speak reproachfully of her. There may be circumstances, when reproof, given in the presence of the others, will produce asalutary influence upon all. Wisdom is profitable to direct, and should be sought for earnestly by those who have the responsibility of families.
Rule 6th.—Avoid anger and a fretful peevish disposition in your family. A hasty spirit, accompanied with harsh words, will most generally beget its own likeness, or, at least, it will, eventually, sour the feelings of your wives and children, and greatly weaken their affections for you. You should remember that harsh expressions against one of your wives, used in the hearing of the others, will more deeply wound her feelings, than if she alone heard them. Reproofs that are timely and otherwise good, may lose their good effect by being administered in a wrong spirit, indeed, they will most probably increase the evils which they were intended to remedy. Do not find fault with every trifling error that you may see; for this will discourage your family, and they will begin to think that it is impossible to please you; and, after a while, become indifferent as to whether they please you or not. How unhappy and extremely wretched is that family where nothing pleases—where scolding has become almost as natural as breathing!
Rule 7th.—Use impartiality in your family as far as circumstances will allow; and let your kindness and love abound towards them all. Use your own judgment, as the head of the family, in regard to your duties in relation to them, and be not swayed from that which is right, by your own feelings, nor by the feelings of others.
Rule 8th.—Suffer not your judgment to be biased against any one of your wives, by the accusations of the others, unless you have good grounds to believe that those accusations are just. Decide not hastily upon partial evidence, but weigh well all things, that your mind may not become unjustly prejudiced. When one of your wives complains of the imperfections of the others, and endeavors to set your mind against them, teach her that all have imperfections, and of the necessity of bearing one with another in patience, and of praying one for another.
Rule 9th.—Call your wives and children together frequently, and instruct them in their duties towards God, towards yourself, and towards one another. Pray with them and for them often; and teach them to pray much, that the Holy Spirit may dwell in their midst, without which it is impossible to maintain that union, love, and oneness which are so necessary to happiness and salvation.
Rule 10th.—Remember, that notwithstanding written rules will be of service in teaching you your duties, as the head of a family, yet without the Holy Ghost to teach and instruct you, it is impossible for you to govern a family in righteousness; therefore, seek after the Holy Ghost and he shall teach you all things, and sanctify you and your family, and make you one, that you may be perfected in Him and He in you, and eventually be exalted on high to dwell with God, where your joy will be full forever.
Rule 11th.—Let no woman unite herself in marriage with any man, unless she has fully resolved to submit herself wholly to his counsel, and to let him govern as the head. It is far better for her not to be united with him in the sacred bonds of eternal union, than to rebel against the divine order of family government, instituted for a higher salvation; for if she altogether turn therefrom, she will receive a greater condemnation.
Rule 12th.—Never seek to prejudice the mind of your husband against any of his other wives, for the purpose of exalting yourself in his estimation, lest the evil which you unjustly try to bring upon them, fall with double weight upon your own head. Strive to rise in favor and influence with your husband by your own merits, and not by magnifying the faults of others.
Rule 13th.—Seek to be a peacemaker in the family with whom you are associated. If you see the least appearance of division arising, use your utmost efforts to restore union and soothe the feelings of all. Soft and gentle words, spoken in season, will allay contention and strife; while a hasty spirit and harsh language add fuel to the fire already kindled which will rage with increasing violence.
Rule 14th.—Speak not evil of your husband unto any of the rest of the family for the purpose of prejudicing their minds against him; for if he be informed thereof, it will injure you in his estimation. Neither speak evil of any members of the family; for this will destroy their confidence in you. Avoid all hypocracy; for if you pretend to love your husband and to honor and respect his wives, when present, but speak disrespectful of them when absent, you will be looked upon as a hypocrite, as a tattler, and as a mischief-making woman, and be shunned as being more dangerous than an open enemy. And what is still more detestable, is to tattle out of the family, and endeavor to create enemies against those with whom you are connected. Such persons should not only be considered hypocrites, but traitors, and their conduct should be despised by every lover of righteousness. Remember also, that there are more ways than one to tattle; it is not always the case that those persons who are the boldest in their accusations that are the most dangerous slanderers; but such as hypocritically pretend that they do not wish to injure their friends, and at the same time, very piously insinuate in dark indirect sayings, something that is calculated to leave a very unfavorable prejudice against them. Shun such a spirit as you would the very gates of hell.
Rule 15th.—If you see any of your husband's wives sick or in trouble, use every effort to relieve them, and to administer kindness and consolations, remembering that you, yourself, under the same circumstances, would be thankful for their assistance. Endeavor to share each other's burdens, according to the health, ability, and strength which God has given you. Do not be afraid that you will do more than your share of the domestic labor, or that you will be more kind to them than they are to you.
Rule 16th.—Let each mother correct her own children, and see that they do not dispute and quarrel with each other, nor with any others; let her not correct the children of the others without liberty so to do, lest it give offence. The husband should see that each mother maintains a wise and proper discipline over her children, especially in their younger years: and it is his duty to see that all of his children are obedient to himself and to their respective mothers. And it is also his duty to see that the children of one wife are not allowed to quarrel and abuse those of the others, neither to be disrespectful or impudent to any branch of his family.
Rule 17th.—It is the duty of parents to instruct their children, according to their capacities in every principle of the gospel, as revealed in the Book of Mormon and in the revelations which God has given, that they may grow up in righteousness, and in the fear of the Lord, and have faith in Him. Suffer no wickedness to have place among them, but teach them the right way, and see that they walk therein. And let the husband and his wives, and all of his children that have come to the years of understanding often bow before the Lord around the family altar, and pray vocally and unitedly for whatever blessings they stand in need of, remembering that where there are union and peace, there will also be faith, and hope, and the love of God, and every good work, and a multiplicity of blessings, imparting health and comfort to the body, and joy and life to the soul.
Rule 18th.—Let each mother commence with her children when young, not only to teach and instruct them, but to chasten and bring them into the most perfect subjection; for then is the time that they are the most easily conquered, and their tender minds are the most susceptible of influences and government. Many mothers from carelessness neglect their children, and only attempt to govern them at long intervals, when they most generally find their efforts of no lasting benefit; for the children having been accustomed to have their own way, do not easily yield; and if peradventure they do yield, it is only for the time being, until the mother relaxes again into carelessness, when they return again to their accustomed habits: and thus by habit they become more and more confirmed in disobedience, waxing worse and worse, until the mother becomes discouraged, and relinquishes all discipline, and complains that she cannot make her children mind. The fault is not so much in the children, as in the carelessness and neglect of the mother when the children were young; it is she that must answer, in a great degree, for the evil habits and disobedience of the children. She is more directly responsible than the father; for it cannot be expected that the father can always find time, apart from the laborious duties required of him, to correct and manage his little children who are at home with their mothers. It is frequently the case that the father is called to attend to duties in public life, and may be absent from home much of his time, when the whole duty of family government necessarily rests upon the respective mothers of his children; if they through carelessness, suffer their children to grow up in disobedience and ruin themselves, they must bear the shame and disgrace thereof. Some mothers, though not careless, and though they feel the greatest anxiety for the welfare of their children, yet, through a mistaken notion of love for them, forbear to punish them when they need punishment, or if they undertake to conquer them, their tenderness and pity are so great, that they prevail over the judgment, and the children are left unconquered, and become more determined to resist all future efforts of their mothers until, at length, they conclude that their children have a more stubborn disposition than others, and that it is impossible to subject them in obedience. In this case, as in that of neglect, the fault is the mother's. The stubbornness of the children, for the most part, is the effect of the mother's indulgence, arising from her mistaken idea of love. By that which she calls love, she ruins her children.
Children between one and two years of age are capable of being made to understand many things; then is the time to begin with them. How often we see children of that age manifest much anger. Frequently by crying through anger, they that are otherwise healthy, injure themselves: it is far better, in such instances, for a mother to correct her child in a gentle manner, though with decision and firmness, until she conquers it, and causes it to cease crying, than to suffer that habit to increase. When the child by gentle punishment has learned this one lesson from its mother, it is much more easily conquered and brought into subjection in other things, until finally, by a little perseverance on the part of the mother, it learns to be obedient to her voice in all things; and obedience becomes confirmed into a permanent habit. Such a child trained by a negligent or overindulgent mother, might have become confirmed in habits of stubbornness and disobedience. It is not so much in the original constitution of children as in their training, that causes such wide differences in their dispositions. It cannot be denied, that there is a difference in the constitution of children even from their birth; but this difference is mostly owing to the proper or improper conduct of parents, as before stated; therefore, even for this difference, parents are more or less responsible. If parents, through their own evil conduct entail hereditary dispositions upon their children which are calculated to ruin them, unless properly curtailed and overcome, they should realise, that for that evil they must render an account. If parents have been guilty in entailing upon their offspring unhappy dispositions, let them repent, by using all diligence to save them from the evil consequences which will naturally result by giving way to those dispositions. The greater the derangement, the greater must be the remedy, and the more skilful and thorough should be its application, until that which is sown in evil is overcome and completely subdued. In this way parents may save themselves and their children; but otherwise there is condemnation. Therefore, we repeat again, let mothers begin to discipline their children when young.
Rule 19th.—Do not correct children in anger; an angry parent is not as well prepared to judge of the amount of punishment which should be inflicted upon a child, as one that is more cool and exercised with reflection, reason, and judgment. Let your children, see that you punish them, not to gratify an angry disposition, but to reform them for their good, and it will have a salutary influence; they will not look upon you as a tyrant, swayed to and fro by turbulent and furious passions; but they will regard you as one that seeks their welfare, and that you only chasten them because you love them, and wish them to do well. Be deliberate and calm in your counsels and reproofs, but at the same time use earnestness and decision. Let your children know that your words must be respected and obeyed.
Rule 20th.—Never deceive your children by threatnings or promises. Be careful not to threaten them with a punishment which you have no intention of inflicting; for this will cause them to lose confidence in your word; besides, it will cause them to contract the habit of lying: when they perceive that their parents do not fulfil their threatenings or promises, they will consider that there is no harm in forfeiting their word. Think not that your precepts, concerning truthfulness, will have much weight upon the minds of your children, when they are contradicted by your examples. Be careful to fulfil your word in all things in righteousness, and your children will not only learn to be truthful from your example, but they will fear to disobey your word, knowing that you never fail to punish or reward according to your threatnings and promises. Let your laws, penalties, and rewards be founded upon the principles of justice and mercy, and adapted to the capacities of your children; for this is the way that our heavenly Father governs His children, giving to some a Celestial; to others a Terrestrial; and to others still a Telestial law, with penalties and promises annexed, according to the conditions, circumstances, and capacities of the individuals to be governed. Seek for wisdom and pattern after the heavenly order of government.
Rule 21st.—Do not be so stern and rigid in your family government as to render yourself an object of fear and dread. There are parents who only render themselves conspicuous in the attribute of Justice, while mercy and love are scarcely known in their families. Justice should be tempered with mercy, and love should be the great moving principle, interweaving itself in all your family administrations. When justice alone sits upon the throne, your children approach you with dread, or peradventure hide themselves from your presence, and long for your absence that they may be relieved from their fear; at the sound of your approaching foot-steps they flee as from an enemy, and tremble at your voice, and shrink from the gaze of your countenance, as though they expected some terrible punishment to be inflicted upon them. Be familiar with your children that they may delight themselves in your society, and look upon you as a kind and tender parent whom they delight to obey. Obedience inspired by love, and obedience inspired by fear, are entirely different in their nature; the former will be permanent and enduring, while the latter only waits to have the objects of fear removed, and it vanishes like a dream. Govern children as parents, and not as tyrants; for they will be parents in their turn, and will be very likely to adopt that form of government in which they have been educated. If you have been tyrants, they may be influenced to pattern after your example. If you are fretful and continually scolding, they will be very apt to be scolds too. If you are loving, kind, and merciful, these benign influences will be very certain to infuse themselves into their order of family government; and thus good and evil influences frequently extend themselves down for many generations and ages. How great, then, are the responsibilities of parents to their children! And how fearful the consequences of bad examples! Let love, therefore, predominate and control you, and your children will be sure to discover it, and will love you in return.
Rule 22nd.—Let each mother teach her children to honor and love their father, and to respect his teachings and counsels. How frequently it is the case, when fathers undertake to correct their children, mothers will interfere in the presence of the children: this has a very evil tendency in many respects: first, it destroys the oneness of feeling which should exist between husband and wife; secondly, it weakens the confidence of the children in the father, and emboldens them to disobedience; thirdly, it creates strife and discord; and lastly, it is rebelling against the order of family government, established by divine wisdom. If the mother supposes the father too severe, let her not mention this in the presence of the children, but she can express her feelings to him while alone by themselves, and thus the children will not see any division between them. For husband and wives to be disagreed, and to contend, and quarrel, is a great evil; and to do these things in the presence of their children, is a still greater evil. Therefore, if a husband and his wives will quarrel and destroy their own happiness, let them have pity upon their children, and not destroy them by their pernicious examples.
Rule 23rd.—Suffer not children of different mothers to be haughty and abusive to each other; for they are own brothers and sisters the same as the children of the patriarch Jacob; and one has no claim above another, only as his conduct merits it. Should you discover contentions or differences arising, do not justify your own children and condemn the others in their presence; for this will encourage them in their quarrels: even if you consider that your children are not so much in the fault as the others, it is far better to teach them of the evils of strife, than to speak against the others. To speak against them, not only alienates their affections, but has a tendency to offend their mothers, and create unpleasant feelings between you and them. Always speak well of each of your husband's wives in the presence of your children; for children generally form their judgment concerning others, by the sayings of their parents: they are very apt to respect those whom their parents respect; and hate those whom they hate. If you consider that some of the mothers are too lenient with their children and too negligent in correcting them, do not be offended, but strive, by the wise and prudent management of your own, to set a worthy example before them, that they, by seeing your judicious and wise course, may be led to go and do likewise. Examples will sometimes reform, when precepts fail.
Rule 24th.—Be industrious in your habits: this is important as fulfilling the law of God: it is also important for those who are in low circumstances, that they may acquire food, and raiment, and the necessary comforts of life: it is also important for the rich as well as the poor, that they may be able more abundantly to supply the wants of the needy, and be in circumstances to help the unfortunate and administer to the sick and afflicted; for in this way, it is possible even for the rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven. A family whose time is occupied in the useful and lawful avocations of life, will find no time to go from house to house, tattling and injuring one another and their neighbors; neither will they be so apt to quarrel among themselves.
Rule 25th.—When your children are from three to five years of age, send them to school, and keep them there year after year until they receive a thorough education in all the rudiments of useful science, and in their manners, and morals. In this manner, they will avoid many evils, arising from indolence, and form habits that will render them beneficial to society in after life. Let mothers educate their daughters in all kinds of domestic labor: teach them to wash and iron, to bake and do all kinds of cooking, to knit and sew, to spin and weave, and to do all other things that will qualify them to be good and efficient housewives. Let fathers educate their sons in whatever branch or branches of business, they intend them respectively to follow. Despise that false delicacy which is exhibited by the sons and daughters of the rich, who consider it a dishonor to labor at the common avocations of live. Such notions of high-life, should be frowned out of the territory, as too contemptible to be harbored, for one moment, by a civilized community. Some of these bogus gentlemen and ladies have such grand ideas, concerning gentility, that they would let their poor old father and mother slave themselves to death, to support them in their idleness, or at some useless fanciful employment. The daughter will sit down in the parlour at her painting or music, arrayed in silks and fineries, and let her mother wash and cook until, through fatigue she is ready to fall into her grave: this they call gentility, and the distinctions between the low and the high. But such daughters are not worthy of husbands, and should not be admitted into any respectable society: they are contemptible drones, that would be a curse to any husband who should be so unfortunate as to be connected with such nuisances. Painting, music, and all the fine arts, should be cherished, and cultivated, as accomplishments which serve to adorn and embellish an enlightened civilized people, and render life agreeable and happy; but when these are cultivated, to the exclusion of the more necessary duties and qualifications, it is like adorning swine with costly jewels and pearls to make them appear more respectable: these embellishments, only render such characters a hundred fold more odious and disgustful than they would otherwise appear.
Rule 26th.—Use economy and avoid wastefulness. How discouraging it would be to a husband who has a large family, depending mostly upon his labor for a support, to see his wives and children carelessly, thoughtlessly, and unnecessarily, waste his hard earnings. Let not one wife, for fear that she shall not obtain her share of the income, destroy, give away, and otherwise foolishly dispose of what is given to her, thinking that her husband will furnish her with more. Those who economize and wisely use that which is given to them, should be counted worthy to receive more abundantly than those who pursue a contrary course. Each wife should feel interested in saving and preserving that with which the Lord has entrusted her, and should rejoice, not only in her prosperity, but in the prosperity of all the others: her eyes should not be full of greediness to grasp every thing herself, but she should feel equally interested in the welfare of the whole family. By pursuing this course she will be beloved: by taking a contrary course, she will be considered selfish and little minded.
Rule 27th.—Let husbands, wives, sons, and daughters, continually realize that their relationships do not end with this short life, but will continue in eternity without end. Every qualification and disposition therefore, which will render them happy here, should be nourished, cherished, enlarged, and perfected, that their union may be indissoluble, and their happiness secured both for this world and for that which is to come.
Let these rules be observed, and all others that are good and righteous, and peace will be the result: husbands will be patriarchs and saviours; wives will be like fruitful vines, bringing forth precious fruits in their seasons: their sons will be like plants of renown, and their daughters like the polished stones of a palace. Then the saints shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and become a great people and strong, whose goings forth shall be with strength that is everlasting. Arise, O Zion! clothe thyself with light! shine forth with clearness and brilliancy! illuminate the nations and the dark corners of the earth, for their light is gone out—their sun is set—gross darkness covers them! let thy light be seen upon the high places of the earth; let it shine in glorious splendour; for then shall the wicked see, and be confounded, and lay their hands upon their mouths in shame; then shall kings arise and come forth to the light, and rejoice in the greatness of thy glory! Fear not, O Zion, nor let thine hands be slack, for great is the Holy One in the amidst of thee! a cloud shall be over thee by day for a defense, and at night thy dwellings shall be encircled with glory! God is thine everlasting light, and shall be a Tower of strength against thine enemies; at the sound of His voice they shall melt away, and terrors shall seize upon them. In that day thou shalt be beautiful and glorious, and the reproach of the Gentiles shall no more come into thine ears; in that day, shall the sons of them that afflicted thee come bending unto thee and bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and the daughters of them that reproached thee, shall come saying, We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be joined in the patriarchal order of marriage with the husbands and patriarchs in Zion to take away our reproach: then shall they highly esteem, far above riches, that which their wicked fathers ridiculed under the name of Polygamy. Amen
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