Plural Marriage: Is It An Eternal Law

A recent book, More Than One: A Sacred Heritage, A Promise for Tomorrow, by Shane Whelan, has initiated a new conversation among faithful Latter-day Saints about the practice of plural marriage. Most studies of Mormon polygamy have focused on its history and scope, have been sociological treatises about its contemporary practice among fundamentalist Mormons, or have been written from advocacy positions either praising or condemning its many forms. Whelan’s book is different, for he writes from a confessional position as an active Latter-day Saint who believes that polygamy is a “true and pure principle that will once again be practiced among the Saints as part of the restoration of the fullness of the gospel and in preparation for the Savior’s Second Coming.” Whelan adds caveats, of course: it should only be resumed when it is no longer against the law of the land and only when the Lord commands its reinstatement through the Church’s recognized prophet. Is plural marriage as Whelan sees it? It is true that the Church has never condemned the principle, only its practice, but does that mean plural marriage is an eternal law? Will Latter-day Saints from this or future generations, like those in earlier times, be called upon to live “the Principle”? Is plural marriage a requirement for exaltation in the celestial kingdom, or was it a commandment only for nineteenth-century Saints? Are the doctrines and justifications given for the earlier practice of polygamy valid? Hear our panelists, and consider what you might say or do if Church members are once more encouraged to enter into the practice!

Paul Tinker, Shane Legrande Whelan, Rhonda Whelan, David Zolman, Stanley B. Kimball, Rebecca Chandler