“Sealed … for Time and for All Eternity”
No human relationship is as focused on, celebrated, and debated as marriage. But what is the relationship between our marriage now and union in the eternities? What was the development between marriage in the Bible, early Church, and present day? Get ready for one of the most interesting episodes ever as a unique class discusses:
- Marriage in historical context
- Marriage and the Bible (with a focus on polygamy)
- Polygamy in the early Church
- D&C 132
- Early Polygamy
- The issue of polyandry
- Later polygamy
- The Manifesto and after
- Polygamy in current Mormonism
- Temple sealings
- Church member opinions
- Reflections on the nature of relationships in heaven and marriage on earth
One Time Donations:
Class Member Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4; 132:4–33; 1 Corinthians 11:11; Genesis 2:18, 24
Additional Teacher Reading: D&C 49:15; D&C 42:22; Jacob 2:27, 30
Prepare yourself for an open, challenging, and satisfying discussion with Andrea, David, and sister wives Pauline and Kate. And be sure to listen carefully all the way to the end.
You can access my Reading Notes here.
You can access my Lesson Notes here.
Continue the conversation by posting your comments and questions here, in the facebook group, or email them to me at MormonSundaySchool at gmail.
- Plural Marriage article in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism
- BYU Religious Studies reprint of an article on Joseph’s youngest wife
- An overview of Joseph’s 33 wives
- An interview with Brian Hales about Joseph’s polygamy
- Brian Hales’ site about Joseph’s polygamy
- Some insights into early polygamy in a Sunstone article by Devery Anderson
- Polyandry in Nauvoo
- Book review on polygamy in the Nauvoo period
- Book review addressing post-manifesto polygamy
- Some thoughts on the question of Celestial Polygamy
- Eugene England’s speculative article on monogamy in heaven
- Carol Lynn Pearson’s call for stories about feelings regarding Celestial Polygamy
- Dialogue article on the theology of sex and marriage in the afterlife
- Polygamy between the manifestos, 1890-1904
- Dialogue article on post-manifesto polygamy
- Lively email turned blog discussion of polygamy
- A thoughtful post on the question of polygamy in heaven
- Why we need to talk about polygamy
- The first post of a series on Joseph Smith’s wives
- An 1874 discussion of women’s rights and polygamy from Women’s Exponent
- An “Ask fMh” post on the question of polygamy in heaven
- Podcast episode on the History of Marriage (audio)
- Stephanie Coontz on marriage (video)
- An anthropological article on the benefits of monogamy
- New York Times article on the changing role of marriage in historical perspective
- The World Historical Transformation of Marriage
- 10 Key Moments in the History of Marriage, BBC
- Review of Marriage, A History
- Marriage, A History (You can read the first chapter here)
- A 2010 map of world polygyny
- Resources about the evolution of marriage
- A podcast version of the same
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness
- Sam Brown, In Heaven as it is on Earth
- Kathryn Daynes, More Wives than One
- Hardy, Doing the Works of Abraham
- Hardy, Solemn Covenant
- Turner, Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet
Many thanks to Devin Roth for the beautiful bumper music. Check out his arrangement of hymns and other work at DevinRothMusic!
Thanks to James Estrada of Oak Street Audio for his quality post-production, even while on vacation!
Teresa Humphrey says:
Has the church responded officially to Brian Hales books or statements?
Have your read “Joseph Fought Polygamy: How Men Nearest the Prophet Attached Polygamy to His Name in Order to Justify Their Own Polygamous Crimes” ?
There was an interesting blog entry on pure Mormonism talking about the book. I wish that I had some way of knowing what sources are reliable and which ones aren’t. This is a link to the blog.
Jared Anderson says:
We will bring up this idea for sure, though I find it deeply unpersuasive on the scale of a conspiracy theory that the moon landing was faked.
Bill McGee says:
It sounds like the work of the former Community of Christ (RLDS) author Richard Price, called: Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy.
The book has been debunked by a number of historians, as well as by the Community of Christ itself (which is why he is a former member.)
Having read much of it, I can safely declare that the book is an utter waste of time. It is a case study in prooftexting history to prove a point.
I’ve heard before (notably by John Hamer on a recent Mormon Stories interview) that the new and everlasting covenant was synonymous with plural marriage in the early church. In this podcast lesson, Jared reiterates this idea. I’d like to research this a little more, but sadly, when it is spoken it is done so without reference for the auditors to research independently.
The question I have is if Jared or any others could refer me to books, discourses, diaries, etc. that would demonstrate that 19th century Mormons really did have this view of the new and everlasting covenant? Thanks for your help.
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+1 to that questions. The quote from the lesson is “4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant (LDS Mormons use this wording to refer to marriage, but in this section it clearly refers to 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.” What makes it so clearly refer to plural marriage?
I appreciate the work that went into this episode. I was getting a bit stressed not finding it posted until Friday afternoon last week. I had decided that for my lesson on Sunday, I was going to bring out the polygamy issue as well, and this episode really helped me be able to approach this in a respectful, less-controversial way.
I introduced the subject saying, “Polygamy isn’t something we talk about much today in the church. It’s like that weird uncle that we keep locked up in a back bedroom. So hey, let’s talk about polygamy.” Of course, your podcast has the time to delve more deeply into the subject than I have in a 40 minute class, but I appreciate the tools it gives me.
Oh, and the class really enjoyed the quotes discussing the evils of monogamy. I find those very funny.
As to the comments asking about the “new and everlasting covenant” referring to plural marriage, I believe that becomes more clear by reading the entire section of D&C 132. Also “the lesson notes” have further information and historical context on this.
Joe Stanford says:
I think the idea that polygamy (polygyny) was (or is) an approach suited to facilitate the raising of righteous seed by bringing children into faithful families (as mentioned in the podcast and a reasonable interpretation of the reason for polygamy from Jacob 2:30 and D&C 132) also deserves some interrogation and examination. As the father of seven children (with one wife), I am repeatedly impressed by the amount of time it takes to attempt to be a good father and maintain strong personal relationships with your children. I have read and heard a number of stories about children from large polygamous families who barely knew their fathers, and who grew up not well connected to the church. (Not saying that connection to the church is necessarily the best measure of righteousness, just raising a question about how many children can one righteous mortal man reasonably be a personal father to.)
I have not listened to this particular podcast yet. Before deciding whether or not to listen, I scanned your notes. I was disappointed to find that it seems a significant portion of your podcast focus would be on polygamy. In the Gospel Doctrine manual for teachers for this lesson, it gives suggestions about which topics to address should the topic of polygamy come up, but it also says, “[The practice of plural marriage] should not be the focus of the lesson.” With that lesson-prep counsel in mind, why did you choose to focus much of your podcast on that topic? Is not your goal to help us prepare lessons for our Sunday School classes according to the recommended reading while adding additional insight in the directions our manual recommends? …I’m confused about your intent for the use of your podcasts. Perhaps I misunderstood. I agree with the importance of discussing such topics, but I just thought these were directly supposed to help us with the preparation for our prescribed Sunday School lessons.
Jared Anderson says:
That is a valid concern, and I address it within the first five minutes of the episode. Marriage is an important topic to address generally, and I will be talking in detail about the principles that govern marriage in Lesson 45 on the Family.
This podcast has multiple goals. It is designed to help you prepare your Gospel Doctrine lessons, but it is also intended to model discussions of those topics that so many have on their minds but there are not safe places to discuss them. Historically the principle of “eternal marriage” as described in D&C 132 did mean polygamy. And even now sealing practices still result in a form of polygamy. Many members have questions and concerns, and I wanted to model a thoughtful, honest, and respectful discussion of this challenging topic. Many of the lessons can be directly carried over to Sunday School, but this is one more suited to conversations with family and friends at home or in the hall. 🙂
So I would hope that everyone listens and takes what they find valuable from the episode. This episode will help you answer questions and resolve concerns that ward members of friends may have, and you might find a few things to bring into your lesson as well.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate you being clear with us about your intent.