One of the great joys and blessings of being an authoritative leader in the Church is the opportunity I often have to help correct some of the misunderstandings that members have regarding our doctrines. While I cannot speak for the Church outside of Conference, I can do my best to try to shed some light on important subjects as they arise. A few days ago, I spoke at a youth devotional regarding the importance of the family. I entitled my remarks “Protect the Family, Save America”:
My dearest youth, I was recently asked by some of our precious members at a Stake Youth Conference whether or not we as Latter-days Saints believe in plural marriage. Some of them said they had read online that we still practice it in a roundabout way, and others said they had read that the fall of the Roman empire was related to the prohibition of plural marriages. I therefore decided to address this important subject and clear up these innocent and youthful misunderstandings.
First, I must state that the Church absolutely does not sanction the practice of plural marriage currently on earth. (Now, precious youth, notice I said the words “on earth.” This will be important later, as you will see.) We cannot and should not engage in the practice of plural marriage during mortality, for it is contrary to the laws of the land.
Next, in order for us to correctly know why the Roman empire fell, we would be well-advised to consult the inspired words of our prophets, seers, and revelators, rather than the ever-changing theories of historians and scientists. From their inspired prophetic words, it is clear that the fall of the Roman empire was directly related to its family structure. From the Prophet Brigham Young, we learn:
“Since the founding of the Roman empire, monogamy has prevailed more extensively than in times previous to that. The founders of that ancient empire … made laws favoring monogamy … and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout all Christendom, and which has been so fruitful a source of prostitution and whoredom throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious.” (Journal of Discourses, 11:128)
Do you see what the Prophet is saying, dearest youth? The definition of monogamy is “the practice or state of being married to one person.” We know from modern-day revelation that it was this uninspired practice which led to the downfall of the greatest civilization of its time!
President Young also taught: “Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman Empire. … Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a hold sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers. Why do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to His servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practiced it. And is that religion popular in heaven? It is the only popular religion there.” (Deseret News, 6 August 1862)
And Apostle George Q. Cannon added: “Rome, with her arts, sciences and warlike instincts, was once the mistress of the world; but her glory faded. She was a monogamic nation, and the numerous evils attending that system early laid the foundation for that ruin which eventually overtook her.” (Journal of Discourses, 13:202)
What, then, caused the fall of the Roman empire? Monogamy. From the revealed word of the Lord, we know with a surety that it was monogamy that led to the “rottenness and decay” and eventual fall of the Roman empire.
So, if plural marriage is indeed the heavenly order of marriage, why do we not practice it today? In instances such as these, I like to look to the current Brethren for an example. Let us consider our righteous prophet, seer, and revelator, Elder Russell M. Nelson. He first married his beloved companion, Dantzel, in the temple and was sealed to her for all eternity. Then, tragically, Dantzel passed away unexpectedly in their home when Elder Nelson was only around 81 years old. Therefore, shortly thereafter, Elder Nelson was sealed to a beautiful and charming woman named Wendy Lee Watson in an eternal temple marriage. (Because Wendy Watson was 55 years old at the time, she was unlikely to have married in this life, and thus Elder Nelson did this good woman a great service by giving her the opportunity to marry an Apostle of the Lord.) Thus we see that Elder Nelson is now sealed eternally to two women, and in the heavens he shall have both at once! How glorious are the promises of the Lord!
After explaining this to the youth, they asked me: “Has Elder Nelson displeased the Lord by being eternally sealed to two women at once?” Certainly not. Were it wrong in the eyes of God, Elder Nelson would not have done so. One youth was “quick to observe” that Elder Nelson’s second wife was younger than his own daughters. I answered that this was perfectly acceptable, and that we must ever remember that the prophets, seers, and revelators of the Lord always act under divine inspiration, according to eternal laws that do not change with the trends of society. As Elder Nelson has boldly testified: “Regardless of what civil legislation may be enacted, the doctrine of the Lord regarding marriage and morality cannot be changed. Remember: sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God! … We cannot change His doctrine. It is not ours to change.” (see https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/decisions-for-eternity?lang=eng)
This sin mentioned by Elder Nelson, of course, applies to the sin of rejecting the practice of plural marriage. I reassured our precious youth that this divine practice is reiterated in our holy scriptures. Section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants refers to plural marriage as “the new and everlasting covenant.” In verse 4, we read: “For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant [plural marriage]; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.” (As I read this verse, I perceived that the youth were greatly uplifted by this modern revelation.)
My dearest young men and young women, Elder Nelson is righteously abiding by the “laws of the land” whilst at the same time abiding by the new and everlasting covenant. Even though we must obey the laws of the land, let us remember that the new and everlasting covenant of marriage is of God and cannot be changed. (The young women in attendance seemed especially comforted by this fact.) Let us follow the example of our righteous prophets, seers, and revelators. We have the blessed assurance that we shall one day again practice the new and everlasting covenant when we have passed through this life and have entered the unspeakable wonder and bliss of the Celestial Kingdom of our God. On that glorious day, the corrupt practice of worldly marriages will be abolished and the true and everlasting covenant will reign supreme.
O youth of the noble birthright! May the Lord bless each of you as you “look forward with an eye of faith” to that heavenly day when the family will be restored to its true order as we live again in the presence of our Father in Heaven with our beloved wives and children.
11 thoughts on “Protect the Family, Save America”
Dear Elder Delaney,
Thanks for your important and timely message about saving America directed to our precious and valiant youth in this world wide Church. I have felt of your spirit as you have shared these fundamental truths.
Your Brother In THE Truth,
Bishop F. Offen Dye
Dearest Bishop Dye,
Never before among the children of men have I witnessed such faith and obedience as you have demonstrated here today.
May all that is noble, praiseworthy, and of good report become yours as you inherit the mansions prepared for you in the kingdom of heaven.
Thank you for sharing this message with our noble youth upon the earth. I now have a greater love for and appreciation for Elder Nelson for bearing the burden of having such a young wife in order to show us, by example, the new and everlasting way to the celestial kingdom. May we all follow in his sacred footsteps.
Dearest member, may you be blessed for your faithfulness and obedience to all the General Authorities.
Anti-Mormons like to accuse Joseph Smith of a lot of horrible things but I know he was a true and humble servant of the Lord. We don’t know all the reasons why plural marriage was practiced or why it stopped but The Lord knows all things and it will all make sense in the next life. When God commanded Joseph Smith to marry additional wives he was so abhorred by the thought of being with dozens of other women and he was so devoted to Emma that an angel with a “flaming” sword had to come down and make him do it. Anti’s like to ignore this convenient little fact.
Like the great prophets before us, let us be faithful in whatsoever things the Lord has commanded of us, that we might be found spotless at the last day.
Thank you so much for this inspiring message. I want to follow the example of our beloved Apostle by being sealed to more than one woman while also following the law of the land. Knowing that it is God’s will would comfort me when I endure the burden of copulating with multiple women in The Celestial Kingdom.
Unfortunatly my first wife is still alive.
What do you recommend?
Faithful Saint, I hope Elder Delaney will excuse my making a suggestion, based on my experience of similar situations. A relative of mine solved just this dilemma a few years ago. When my beloved cousin, after bearing her husband seven beautiful children, approached that time of life when womanly functions cease, she encouraged her husband to civilly divorce her so that he could marry a fertile young sister. She knew, of course, that a civil divorce would have no bearing on the holy covenants they had made in the temple.
My cousin and her eternal partner now live in adjacent houses, and he has married a wonderful young sister who has added the more delightful children to their eternal family. Two faithful sisters have been blessed by this dedicated priesthood holder, and their eternal family is thriving on earth as it will in the celestial kingdom.
A number of other priesthood holders in my large family are planning to follow the inspired example of my cousin’s eternal husband.
May the Lord bless you with inspiration and eternal prosperity.
Anna, At 1st when I read about your cousin’s husband divorcing her and remarrying I was confused. But then my mind was settled again when I read that Elder Oaks taught that divorce and remarriage was not a sin anymore and we today are not expected to live by Christ’s laws. What a blessing that is to so many. We are now able to divorce as many times as needed until we are able to find true happiness with someone who is compatiable to us and loves us.
And the Church even allows the sealings of the previous wives to even stay in tact, so that if they don’t happen to remarry then they can be comforted with the knowledge that they can return to their former husband and he will have all the women sealed to him in the next life and these women don’t have to worry about being alone in the next life too.
And of course we are especially blessed in this church that realizes that often times we marry the wrong person and so divorce and remarriage is allowed over and over if need be til we find the right one. My relative’s new husband had been married and divorced 12 times before they finally found each other and were quickly sealed in the temple for all eternity. Sometime it just takes a little practice to make perfect – and the more wives sealed to the man in the next life, the better!
Dearest Brother Delaney,
I would be remiss if I didn’t write you. The spirit testified to me that your words are true! My bosom burned! How great it is to know God’s moraility and views on marriage are unchangeable!! How great it is to know that our beloved Brigham Young and Elder Nelson have been compliant to the laws of the land with this sacred issue! (Article of Faith 12).
Thank you for your unwavering obedience to the laws of God and the laws of man as pertaining to their alignment in all matters of righteousness. May we ever follow the examples of our beloved prophets who obeyed the laws of the land unfailingly since the time of Joseph Smith to the present day. May comfort and cheer ever attend you as you contemplate the blessed state of your life hereafter in the mansion prepared for you together with all the eternal companions of your beloved husband.