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´╗┐Title: The Bible and Polygamy - Does the Bible Sanction Polygamy?
Author: Newman, John Philip, Cannon, George Q., Pratt, Orson, Smith, George Albert
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bible and Polygamy - Does the Bible Sanction Polygamy?" ***

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(http://mormontextsproject.org), with thanks to Christopher







One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day



Chaplain of the United States Senate,


August 12, 13, and 14, 1870.












Pastor of the Metropolitan Methodist Church, Washington, D. C.,



President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


                                         Salt Lake City, Aug. 6th, 1870.


Sir:--In acceptance of the challenge given in your journal, "The Salt
Lake Daily Telegraph," of the 3rd of May last, to discuss the question,
"Does the Bible sanction polygamy?" I have hereby to inform you that I
am now ready to hold a public debate with you as the head of the Mormon
Church upon the above question, under such regulations as may be agreed
upon for said discussion; and I suggest for our mutual convenience
that, either by yourself or by two gentlemen whom you shall designate,
you may meet two gentlemen whom I will select for the purpose of making
all necessary arrangements for the debate, with as little delay as
possible. May I hope for a reply at your earliest convenience, and at
least not later than 3 o'clock to-day?

                                     Respectfully, etc.,

                                                     J. P. NEWMAN.


                                      Salt Lake City, U. T., Aug. 6th, 1870.


Sir:--Yours of even date has just been received, in answer to which I
have to inform you that no challenge was ever given by me to any person
through the columns of the "Salt Lake Daily Telegraph," and this is the
first information I have received that any such challenge ever appeared.

You have been mis-informed with regard to the "Salt Lake Daily
Telegraph;" it was not my journal, but was owned and edited by Dr.
Fuller, of Chicago, who was not a member of our church, and I was not
acquainted with its columns.


                                                     BRIGHAM YOUNG.


                                           Salt Lake City, Aug. 6, 1870.


Sir:--I confess my disappointment at the contents of your note in reply
to mine of this date. In the far East it is impossible to distinguish
the local relations between yourself and those papers which advocate
the interests of your Church; and when the copy of the "Telegraph"
containing the article of the 3rd of May last, reached Washington, the
only construction put upon it by my friends was that it was a challenge
to me to come to your city and discuss the Bible doctrine of polygamy.

Had I chosen to put a different construction on that article, and
to take no further notice of it, you could then have adopted the
"Telegraph" as your organ and the said article as a challenge, which
I either could not or dared not accept. That I am justified in this
construction is clear from the following facts:

1. The article in the "Telegraph," of May 3rd, contains these
expressions, alluding to my sermon as reported in the N. Y. "Herald,"
it says: "The discourse was a lengthened argument to prove that the
Bible does not sustain polygamy. * * * * * * * * The sermon should have
been delivered in the New Tabernacle in this city, with ten thousand
Mormons to listen to it, and then Elder Orson Pratt, or some prominent
Mormon, should have had a hearing on the other side and the people been
allowed to decide. * * * * * Dr. Newman, by his very sermon, recognizes
the religious element of the question. * * * * Let us have a fair
contest of peaceful argument and let the best side win. * * * We will
publish their notices in the "Telegraph," report their discourses as
far as possible, use every influence in our power, if any is needed,
to secure them the biggest halls and crowded congregations, and we
are satisfied that every opportunity will be given them to conduct a
campaign. We base this last remark on a statement made last Sunday week
in the Tabernacle by President Geo. A. Smith, that the public halls
throughout the Territory have been and would be open to clergymen of
other denominations coming to Utah to preach. * * * Come on and convert
them by the peaceful influences of the Bible instead of using the means
now proposed. Convince them by reason and Scriptural argument and no
Cullom Bill will be required."

2. I understand the article containing the above expressions, was
written by Elder Sloan, of the Mormon Church, and at that time
associate editor of the "Telegraph;" and that he was, and has since
been, in constant intercourse with yourself. The expressions of the
said article, as above cited, were the foundation of the impression
throughout the country, that a challenge had thus been given
through the columns of the "Telegraph," and as such, I myself, had
no alternative but so to regard and accept it. I may add that I am
informed that an impression prevailed here in Utah, that a challenge
had been given and accepted. Under this impression I have acted from
that day to this, having myself both spoken of and seen allusions to
the anticipated discussion in several prominent papers of the country.

3. It was not till after my arrival in your city last evening, in
pursuance of this impression, that I learned the fact that the same
Elder Sloan, in the issue of the "Salt Lake Herald," of Aug. 3rd,
attempts for the first time to disabuse the public of the idea so
generally prevalent. Still acting in good faith and knowing that
you had never denied or recalled the challenge of the 3rd of May, I
informed you of my presence in your city and of the object of my visit

My note this morning with your reply, will serve to put the matter
before the public in its true light and dispel the impression of very
many in all parts of the country, that such a challenge had been given
and that such a discussion would be held.

Feeling that I have now fully discharged my share of the responsibility
in the case, it only remains for me to subscribe myself, as before,


                                                  J. P. NEWMAN.


                                             Salt Lake City, Aug. 6, 1870.


Sir:--It will be a pleasure to us, if you will address our congregation
to-morrow morning, the 7th inst., in the small Tabernacle at 10 a. m.,
or, should you prefer it, in the New Tabernacle at 2 p. m., same inst.,
or both morning and evening.


                                                    BRIGHAM YOUNG.

P. S. I hope to hear from you immediately.

                                                 B. Y.


                    Salt Lake City, Aug. 6, 1870, Eight o'clock, P.M.


Sir:--In reply to your note just received to preach in the Tabernacle
to-morrow, I have to say that after disclaiming and declining, as you
have done to-day, the discussion which I came here to hold, other
arrangements to speak in the city were accepted by me, which will
preclude my compliance with your invitation.


                                              J. P. NEWMAN.


                                Salt Lake City, U. T., Aug. 6, 1870.


Sir:--In accordance with our usual custom of tendering clergymen of
every denomination, passing through our city, the opportunity of
preaching in our tabernacles of worship, I sent you, this afternoon,
an invitation tendering you the use of the small Tabernacle in the
morning, or the New Tabernacle in the afternoon, or both, at your
pleasure, which you have seen proper to decline.

You charge me with "disclaiming and declining the discussion" which
you came here to hold. I ask you, sir, what right have you to charge
me with declining a challenge which I never gave you, or, to assume
as a challenge from me, the writing of any unauthorized newspaper
editor? Admitting that you could distort the article in question to
be a challenge from me, (which I do not believe you conscientiously
could) was it not the duty of a gentleman to ascertain whether I was
responsible for the so-called challenge before your assumption of such
a thing? And certainly much more so before making your false charges.

Your assertion that if you had not chosen to construe the article
in question as a challenge from me, I "could then have adopted the
'Telegraph' as your [my] organ and the said article as a challenge,"
is an insinuation, in my judgment, very discreditable to yourself, and
ungentlemanly in the extreme, and forces the conclusion that the author
of it would not scruple to make use of such a subterfuge himself.

You say that Mr. Sloan is the author of the article; if so, he is
perfectly capable of defending it, and I have no doubt you will find
him equally willing to do so; or Professor Orson Pratt, whose name, it
appears, is the only one suggested in the article. I am confident he
would be willing to meet you, as would hundreds of our elders, whose
fitness and respectability I would consider beyond question.

In conclusion I will ask, What must be the opinion of every candid,
reflecting mind, who views the facts as they appear? Will they
not conclude that this distortion of the truth in accusing me of
disclaiming and declining a challenge, which I never even contemplated,
is unfair and ungentlemanly in the extreme and must have been invented
with some sinister motive? Will they not consider it a paltry and
insignificant attempt, on your part, to gain notoriety, regardless of
the truth? This you may succeed in obtaining; but I am free to confess,
as my opinion, that you will find such notoriety more unenviable
than profitable, and as disgraceful, too, as it is unworthy of your

If you think you are capable of proving the doctrine of "Plurality of
Wives" unscriptural, tarry here as a missionary; we will furnish you
the suitable place, the congregation, and plenty of our elders, any of
whom will discuss with you on that or any other scriptural doctrine.


                                             BRIGHAM YOUNG.


                                       Salt Lake City, Aug. 8th, 1870.


Sir:--Your last note, delivered to me on Sunday morning, and to which,
of course, I would not on that day reply, does not at all surprise me.

It will be, however, impossible for you to conceal from the public
the truth, that with the full knowledge of my being present in your
city for the purpose of debating with you or your representative the
question of polygamy, you declined to enter into any arrangements for
such a discussion; and after this fact was ascertained, I felt at
liberty to comply with a subsequent request from other parties, which
had been fully arranged before the reception of your note of invitation
to preach in your Tabernacles.

I must frankly say that I regard your professed courtesy, extended
under the circumstances, as it was, a mere device to cover, if
possible, your unwillingness to have a fair discussion of the matter in
question in the hearing of your people.

Your comments upon "disclaiming and declining the discussion" are
simply a reiteration of the disclaimer; while, in regard to your notice
of my construction of the article in the Telegraph of May last, I
have only to leave the representations you have seen fit to make to
the judgment of a candid public sure to discover who it is that has
been resorting to "subterfuge" in this affair. Your intimation that
Elder Sloan, Prof. Pratt, or hundreds of other Mormon elders, would
be willing to discuss the question of Polygamy with me from a Bible
standpoint, and your impertinent suggestion that I tarry here as a
missionary for that purpose, I am compelled to regard as cheap and safe
attempts to avoid the appearance of shrinking from such a discussion by
seeming to invite it after it had, by your own action, been rendered
impossible. As to the elders you speak of, including yourself, being
ready to meet me in public debate, I have to say that I came here
with that understanding and expectation, but it was rudely dispelled,
on being definitely tested. Were it possible to reduce these vague
suggestions of yours to something like a distinct proposition for a
debate, there is still nothing in your action, so far, to assure me
of your sincerity, but, on the contrary, every thing to cause me to
distrust it.

I have one more point of remark. You have insinuated that my motive is
a thirst for "notoriety." I can assure you that if I had been animated
by such a motive, you give me small credit for good sense by supposing
that I would employ such means. Neither you, nor the system of which
you are the head, could afford me any "notoriety" to be desired.

But, to show how far I have been governed by merely personal
aspirations, let the simple history of the case be recalled.

You send your Delegate to Congress who, in the House of
Representatives, and in sight and hearing of the whole Nation, throws
down the gauntlet upon the subject of Polygamy as treated in the Bible.
Being Chaplain of the American Senate, and having been consulted by
several public men, I deemed it my duty to preach upon the subject. The
discourse was published in tho New York "Herald," and on this reaching
your city one of your Elders published an article which is generally
construed as a challenge to me to debate the question with you, or
some one whom you should appoint, here in your tabernacle. Acting upon
this presumption, I visit your city, taking the earliest opportunity
to inform you, as the head of the Mormon Church, of my purpose, and
suggesting the steps usual in such cases. You then reply, ignoring the
whole subject, but without a hint of your "pleasure" about my preaching
in the Tabernacle.

Subsequently other arrangements were made which precluded my accepting
any invitation to speak in your places of worship. The day passed away,
and after sunset I received your note of invitation, my reply to which
will answer for itself. And this can intimate is an attempt on my part
to obtain an "unenviable notoriety."

Sir, I have done with you--make what representation of the matter you
think proper you will not succeed in misleading the discriminating
people either of this Territory or of the country generally by any
amount of verbiage you may choose to employ.

                            Respectfully, etc.,

                                        J. P. NEWMAN.


[The communication referred to in the letter below was addressed to Dr.
Newman by five persons, who asked him whether it was a fact that he
was unwilling to debate the question of polygamy now and here, as that
was the impression, they say, the Deseret Evening News and _Salt Lake
Herald_, conveyed.]


                                      Salt Lake City, Aug. 9th, 1870.


Sir:--In view of the inclosed communications, received from several
citizens of this place asking whether I am ready now and here to debate
the question "Does the Bible sanction Polygamy?" with you, as the Chief
of the Church of Latter-day Saints, and in view of the defiant tone
of your Church journals of last evening and this morning; and in view
of the fact that I have been here now four days waiting to have you
inform me of your willingness to meet me in public discussion on the
above question, but having received no such intimation up to this time
of writing, therefore, I do now and here challenge you to meet me in
personal and public debate on the aforesaid question. I respectfully
suggest that you appoint two gentlemen to meet Rev. Dr. Sunderland and
Dr. J. P. Taggart, who represent me, to make all necessary arrangements
for the discussion.

Be kind enough to favor me with an immediate reply.


                                                  J. P. NEWMAN.

Residence of Rev. Mr. Pierce.


                               Salt Lake City, U. T., August 9th, 1870.


Sir:--Your communication of to-day's date, with accompanying enclosure,
was handed to me a few moments since by Mr. Black.

In reply, I will say that I accept the challenge to debate the question
"Does the Bible sanction Polygamy?" Professor Orson Pratt or Hon. John
Taylor acting as my representative, and in my stead in the discussion.
I will furnish the place of holding the meetings, and appoint two
gentlemen to meet Messrs. Sunderland and Taggart, to whom you refer as
your representatives, to make the necessary arrangements.

I wish the discussion to be conducted in a mild, peaceable, quiet
spirit, that the people may receive light and intelligence and all be
benefitted; and then let the congregation decide for themselves.


                                                BRIGHAM YOUNG.


                                                  City, Aug. 9th, 1870


Sir:--I have appointed Messrs A. Carrington and Jos. W. Young to meet
with Messrs Sunderland and Taggart, to arrange preliminaries for the


                                                   BRIGHAM YOUNG.


                                       Salt Lake City, Aug. 9th, 1870.


Sir:--I challenged you to a discussion and not Orson Pratt or John
Taylor. You have declined to debate personally with me. Let the public
distinctly understand this fact, whatever may have been your reasons
for so declining. Here I think I might reasonably rest the case.
However, if Orson Pratt is prepared to take the affirmative of the
question, "Does the Bible sanction Polygamy?" I am prepared to take
the negative, and Messrs. Sunderland and Taggart will meet Messrs.
Carrington and Young to-night at 8 o'clock at the office of Mr. Taggart
to make the necessary arrangements.

                                    Respectfully, etc.,

                                                   J. P. NEWMAN.


                              Salt Lake City, U. T., Aug. 10th, 1870.


Sir:--I am informed by Messrs. Carrington and Young that at their
meeting last evening with Drs. Sunderland and Taggart they were unable
to come to a decision with regard to the wording of the subject of

Bearing in mind the following facts: Firstly, that you are the
challenging party. Secondly, That in a sermon delivered by you in the
city of Washington, before President Grant and his Cabinet, Members of
Congress and many other prominent gentlemen, you assumed to prove that
"God's law condemns the union in marriage of more than two persons," it
certainly seems strange that your representatives should persistently
refuse to have any other question discussed than the one "Does the
Bible sanction Polygamy?" It appears to the representatives of Mr.
Pratt that if Dr. Newman could undertake to prove in Washington that
"God's law condemns the union in marriage of more than two persons,"
he ought not to refuse to make the same affirmation in Salt Lake City.
Mr. Pratt, I discover, entertains the same opinion, but rather than
permit the discussion to fall, he will not press for your original
proposition, but will accept the question as you now state it: "Does
the Bible sanction Polygamy?"

I sincerely trust that none of the gentlemen forming the committee will
encumber the discussion with unnecessary regulations, which will be
irksome to both parties and unproductive of good, and that no obstacles
will be thrown in the way of having a free and fair discussion.


                                                  BRIGHAM YOUNG.




13 AND 14, 1870.


At two o'clock yesterday afternoon Professor Pratt and Dr. Newman, with
their friends and the umpires, met in the stand of the New Tabernacle:
the two former gentlemen prepared for the discussion of the question,
"Does the Bible sanction Polygamy?" An audience of three or four
thousand--at least half of which was of the gentler sex--assembled
to hear the discussion. At a few minutes past two, the audience was
called to order by Judge C. M. Hawley, the umpire of Dr. Newman, on the
negative, he (fortunately we presume) being absent from his district
at this juncture--and Elder John Taylor offered the opening prayer.
The same umpire, who somehow or other had got the idea that he was the
master of ceremonies on the occasion, and that he would relieve the
umpire of the affirmative side from all his duties, then introduced
Professor Pratt to the audience, which, as the professor was so well
known and the umpire almost unknown, created a slight titter, which,
however, speedily subsided, and the assemblage listened quietly to the


I appear before this audience to discuss a subject that is certainly
important to us, and no doubt is interesting to the country at large,
namely: the subject of plurality of wives, or, as the question is
stated: "Does the Bible sanction Polygamy?" I would state, by way of
apology to the audience, that I have been unaccustomed, nearly all
my life, to debate. It is something new to me. I do not recollect of
ever having held more than one or two debates, in the course of my
life, on any subject. I think the last one was some thirty years ago,
in the city of Edinburgh. But I feel great pleasure this afternoon
in appearing before this audience for the purpose of examining the
question under discussion. I shall simply read what is stated in the
Bible, and make such remarks as I may consider proper upon the occasion.

I will call your attention to a passage which will be found in
Deuteronomy, the 21st Chapter, from the 15th to the 17th verse:

 If a man have two wives, one beloved and another hated, and they
 have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the
 first-born be hers that was hated: Then it shall be when, he maketh
 his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son
 of the beloved first-born before the son of the hated, which is indeed
 the first-born: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the
 first-born, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath; for he
 is the beginning of his strength; the right of the first-born is his.

Here is a law, in the words of the Great Law-giver himself, the Lord,
who spake to Moses; and it certainly must be a sanction of a plurality
of wives, for it is given to regulate inheritances in families of
that description, as well as in families wherein the first wife may
have been divorced, or may be dead; wives contemporary and wives that
are successive. It refers to both classes; and inasmuch as plurality
of wives is nowhere condemned in the law of God, we have a right to
believe from this law that plurality of wives is just as legal and
proper as that of the marriage of a single wife. This is the ground
we are forced to take until we can find some law, some evidence, some
testimony to the contrary. They are acknowledged as wives in this
passage, at least--"If a man have two wives." It is well known that
the House of Israel at that time practised both monogamy and polygamy.
They were not exclusively monogamists; neither were they exclusively
polygamists. There were monogamic families existing in Israel in those
days, and therefore in the Lord giving this He referred not only to
successive wives, where a man had married after the death of his first
wife, or if the first wife had been divorced for some legal cause, but
to wives who were contemporary, as there were many families in Israel,
which can be proved if necessary, that were polygamists. I might here
refer to the existence of this principle concerning the rights of the
first-born in monogamic and polygamic families prior to the date of
this law. This seems to have been given to regulate a question that had
a prior existence. I will refer, before I proceed from this passage,
to the monogamic family of Isaac, wherein we have the declaration that
Esau and Jacob, being twins, had a dispute, or at least there was
an ill feeling on the part of Esau, because Jacob at a certain time
had purchased the right of the first-born--that is, his birth-right.
The first-born, though twins, and perhaps a few moments intervening
between the first and second, or only a short time, had rights, and
those rights were respected and honored centuries before the days of
Moses. This was a monogamic family, so far as we are informed; for if
Isaac had more than one wife, the Bible does not inform us. We come
to Jacob, who was a polygamist, and whose first-born son pertained to
the father and not to the mother. There were not four first-born sons
to Jacob who were entitled to the rights of the first-born, but only
one. The first-born to Jacob was Reuben, and he would have retained
the birth-right had he not transgressed the law of heaven. Because
of transgression he lost that privilege. It was taken from him and
given to Joseph, or rather to the two sons of Joseph, as you will find
recorded in the fifth chapter of 1st Chronicles. Here then the rights
of the first-born were acknowledged, in both polygamic and monogamic
families, before the law under consideration was given. The House of
Israel was not only founded in polygamy, but the two wives of Jacob,
and the two handmaidens, that were also called his wives, were the
women with whom he begat the twelve sons from whom the twelve tribes of
Israel sprang; and polygamy having existed and originated as it were
with Israel or Jacob, in that nation, was continued among them from
generation to generation down until the coming of Christ; and these
laws therefore were intended to regulate an institution already in
existence. If the law is limited to monogamic families only, it will
devolve upon my learned opponent to bring forth evidence to establish
this point.

We will next refer to a passage which will be found in Exodus 21st
chapter, 10th verse. It may be well to read the three preceding
verses, commencing with the 7th: "And if a man sell his daughter to be
a maid-servant, she shall not go out as the men servants do. If she
please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he
let her be redeemed; to sell her into a strange nation he shall have
no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. And if he hath
betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner
of daughters. If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment and
her duty of marriage shall he not diminish." Also the following verse,
the 11th: "And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go
out free without money." I think from the nature of this passage that
it certainly does have reference to two lawful wives. It may be that
objection will be taken to the word "wife"--"another wife"--from the
fact that it is in Italics, and was so placed by the translators of
King James, according to the best judgment they could form, taking
into consideration the text. I do not intend at present to dwell at
any great length upon this passage, merely declaring that this does
sanction plurality of wives, so far as my judgment and opinion are
concerned, and so far as the literal reading of the Scripture exhibits
it does sanction the taking of another wife, while the first is still
living. If this word "wife" could be translated "woman," that perhaps
might alter the case, providing it can be proved that it should be so
from the original, which may be referred to on this point, and it may
not. We have the privilege, I believe, of taking the Bible according
to King James' translation, or of referring to the original, providing
we can find any original. But so far as the original is concerned,
from which this was translated, it is not in existence. The last
information we have of the original manuscripts from which this was
translated, is that they were made into the form of kites and used for
amusement, instead of being preserved. With regard to a great many
other manuscripts, they may perhaps agree with the original of King
James' translation, or they may not. We have testimony and evidence in
the Encyclopedia Metropolitana that the original manuscripts contained
a vast number of readings, differing materially one from the other. We
have this statement from some of the best informed men, and in several
instances it has been stated that there are 30,000 different readings
of these old original manuscripts from which the Bible was translated.
Men might dispute over these readings all the days of their lives and
there would be a difference of opinion, there were so many of them.
This, then, is another law, regulating, in my estimation, polygamy.

I will now refer to another law on the subject of polygamy, in the
25th chapter of Deuteronomy--I do not recollect the verse, but I
will soon find it--it commences at the 5th verse. "If brethren dwell
together"--Now, it is well enough in reading this, to refer to the
margin, as we have the privilege of appealing to it, so you will find
in the margin the words "next kinsmen," or "brethren." "If brethren--or
next kinsmen--dwell together:"

 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child,
 the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her
 husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife,
 and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her.

 And it shall be, that the first-born which she beareth shall succeed
 in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out
 of Israel.

 And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his
 brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My
 husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in
 Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.

 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if
 he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;

 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the
 elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face,
 and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will
 not build up his brother's house.

 And his name shall be called in Israel, the house of him that hath his
 shoe loosed.

It may be asked, What has this to do with polygamy? I answer that as
the law is general, it is binding upon brethren and upon all near
kinsmen dwelling together. Not unmarried brethren or unmarried kinsmen,
but the married and unmarried. The law is general. If it can be proved
from the original, or from any source whatever, that the law is not
general, then the point will have to be given up. But if that cannot
be proven, then here is a law that not only sanctions polygamy, but
commands it; and if we can find one law where a command is given,
then plurality of wives would be established on a permanent footing,
equal in legality to that of monogamy. This law of God absolutely
does command all persons, whether married or unmarried, it makes no
difference--brethren dwelling together, or near kinsmen dwelling
together--which shows that it is not unmarried persons living in the
same house that are meant, but persons living together in the same
neighborhood, in the same country in Israel, as it is well known that
Israel in ancient days did so dwell together; and the law was binding
upon them. This was calculated to make a vast number of polygamists
in Israel from that day until the coming of Christ. And the Christian
religion must have admitted these polygamists into the Church, because
they would have been condemned if they had not observed this law.
There was a penalty attached to it, and they could not be justified
and refuse to obey it. Hence there must have been hundreds, perhaps
thousands, of polygamists in Israel, when Jesus came, who were living
in obedience to this law and who would have been condemned if they had
disobeyed it. When the gospel was preached to them, if they could not
have been admitted into the Christian Church without divorcing their
wives God would have been unjust to them, for if they, through their
obedience to God's law, should have been cut off from the gospel, would
it not have been both inconsistent and unjust? But as there is no law
either in the Old or New Testament against polygamy, and as we here
find polygamy commanded, we must come to the conclusion that it is a
legal form of marriage. We cannot come to any other conclusion, for
it stands on a par with the monogamic form of marriage; consequently,
wherever we find either righteous men or wicked men, whatever may be
their practices in the course of their lives, it does not affect the
legality of their marriage with one wife or with two wives.

We may refer you to Cain, who had but one wife, so far as we are
informed. He was a monogamist. He was also a very wicked man, having
killed his own brother. We find he was driven out into the land of
Nod. Of course, as the Lord had not created any females in the land of
Nod, Cain must have taken his wife with him, and there was born a son
to him in that land. Shall we condemn monogamy and say it was sinful
because Cain was a murderer? No; that will never do. We can bring no
argument of this kind to destroy monogamy, or the one-wife system, and
make it illegal. We come down to the days of Lamech. He was another
murderer. He happened to be a polygamist; but he did not commit his
murder in connection with polygamy, so far as the Scriptures give any
information. There is no connection between the law of polygamy and
the murder he committed in slaying a young man. Does that, therefore,
invalidate the marriage of two persons to Lamech? No; it stands on just
as good ground as the case of Cain, who was a monogamist and a murderer

Adam was a monogamist. But was there any law given to Adam to prevent
him taking another wife? If there was such a law, it is not recorded in
King James' translation. If there be such a law recorded, perhaps it is
in some of the originals that differed so much from each other. It may
be argued, in the case of Adam, that the Lord created but one woman to
begin the peopling of this earth. If the Lord saw proper to create but
one woman for that purpose, he had a perfect right to do so.

The idea that that has any bearing upon the posterity of Adam because
the Lord did not create two women would be a very strange idea indeed.
There are a great many historical facts recorded concerning the days
of Adam that were not to be examples to his posterity. For instance,
he was ordered to cultivate the garden of Eden--one garden. Was that
any reason why his posterity should not cultivate two gardens? Would
any one draw the conclusion that, because God gave a command to Adam
to cultivate the garden of Eden, to dress it and keep it, that his
posterity to the latest time should all have one garden each, and
no more? There is no expression of a law in these matters; they are
simply historical facts. Again, God gave him clothing on a certain
occasion, the Lord himself being the tailor--clothing to cover the
nakedness of Adam and of Eve his wife; and this clothing was made from
the skins of beasts. This is a historical fact. Will any one say that
all the posterity of Adam shall confine their practice in accordance
with this historical fact? Or that it was an expression of law from
which they must not deviate? By no means. If the posterity of Adam see
fit to manufacture clothing out of wool, or flax, or cotton, or any
other material whatever, would any one argue in this day that they
were acting in violation of the law of the Divine Creator, of a law
expressed and commanded in the early ages? Why, no. We should think
a man had lost all powers of reason who would argue this way. As our
delegate remarked in his speech, Adam had taken all the women in the
world, or that were made for him. If there had been more, he might have
taken them: there was nothing in the law to limit him.

I would like to dwell upon this longer, but I have many other passages
to which I wish to draw your attention. The next passage to which I
will refer, you will find in Numbers, 31st chapter, 17th and 18th
verses. This chapter gives us a history of the proceedings of this
mixed race of polygamists and monogamists called Israel. At a certain
time they went out to battle against the nation of Midianites; and
having smote the men, they took all the women captives, as you will
find in the 9th verse. Commencing at the 15th verse, we read:

 And Moses said unto them have ye saved all the women alive? Behold
 these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to
 commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was
 a plague among the congregation of the Lord.

You will recollect the case of some Midianitish women being brought
into the camp of Israel contrary to the law of God, not being wives;
and Israel with them sinned and transgressed the law of heaven, and the
Lord sent an awful plague into their midst for this transgression. Now,
here was a large number of women saved, and Moses, finding they were
brought into camp, said these had caused the children of Israel to sin;
and he gave command: "Now, therefore, kill every male among the little
ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But
all the women children, that have not known man by lying with him,
keep alive for yourselves." How many were there of this great company
that they were to keep alive for themselves? There was something very
strange in this. If they had caused Israel to sin why spare them? Or
why keep them alive for themselves? That they might have them lawfully.
Some may say to have them as servants, not as wives. Some might have
been kept as servants and not as wives, but would there not have been
great danger of Israel sinning again with so many thousand servants,
as they were the same women who had brought the plague into the camp
of Israel before? How many were there of these women? Thirty-two
thousand, as you will find in another verse of the same chapter. And
these were divided up as you will also find, in the latter part of the
same chapter, among the children of Israel. Those who stayed at home
from the war took a certain portion--sixteen thousand in number; those
who went to the war, including the Levites, took the remaining sixteen

Now to show that polygamy was practised among the children of Israel in
taking captive women, let me refer you to another passage of Scripture,
in Deuteronomy, 21st chapter, commencing at the 10th verse.

 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy
 God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them

 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto
 her, that thou wouldst have her to thy wife;

 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her
 head, and pare her nails;

 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall
 remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full
 month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband,
 and she shall be thy wife.

 And it shall be. If thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let
 her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money,
 thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.

Now, this law was given to a nation, as I have already shown, which
practised polygamy as well as monogamy; and consequently if a
polygamist saw a woman, a beautiful woman, among the captives; or if a
monogamist saw a beautiful woman among the captives; or if an unmarried
man saw a beautiful woman among the captives, the law being general,
they had an equal right to take them as wives. This will explain the
reason why the Lord told Israel to save thirty-two thousand Midianitish
women alive for themselves. It will be recollected that the Israelites
had a surplus of women. I have no need to refer to the destruction
of the males that had been going on for a long period of time--about
eighty years, until Moses went to deliver Israel from Egypt. During
this time females were spared alive, making a surplus of them in the
midst of Israel; but the Lord saw there was not enough, and He made
provision for more by commanding them to spare these captive women and
keep them alive for themselves. If my opponent, who will follow me,
can bring forth any evidence from the law of God, or from the passage
under consideration, to prove that this law was limited to unmarried
men, all right; we will yield the point, if there can be evidence
brought forward to that effect. "When you go forth to war if you see a
beautiful woman"--not you unmarried men alone, but all that go forth to

The next passage to which I will refer you, where God absolutely
commands polygamy, will be found in Exodus, 22nd chapter, 16th and 17th

 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he
 shall surely endow her to be his wife.

 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money
 according to the dowry of virgins.

There is the law of Exodus; now let us turn to the law of Deuteronomy,
22nd chapter, 28th and 29th verses, on the same subject:

 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and
 lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father
 fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath
 humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

Does this mean an unmarried man? The law was given to a nation wherein
both forms of marriage were recognized, and wherein single men existed.
If it does mean single men alone, we would like to hear the proof. The
law is general. Whether married or unmarried, whether a monogamist
or polygamist, if he committed this crime, if he found a maid and
committed the crime there specified, of seduction, there is the law;
he shall marry her, and shall not only marry her, but shall pay a fine
of fifty shekels of silver to the father. This was the penalty; not
that they were justified in the act. It mattered not whether he was a
polygamist, a monogamist, or an unmarried man, he must comply with the
law as a penalty. That was another command establishing and sanctioning
polygamy, sanctioning it by Divine command. If this law could have
been put in force in modern times, among modern Christian nations,
what a vast amount of evil would have been avoided in the earth. It
is proverbial that among all the nations of modern Europe, as well as
in our own great nation--Christian nations--there is a vast amount of
prostitution, houses of ill-lame, and prostitutes of various forms;
now, if this law, which God gave to Israel, had been re-enacted by the
law-makers and legislatures and parliaments of these various nations,
what would have been the consequence? In a very short time there would
not have been a house of ill-fame in existence. Their inmates would
have all been married off to their seducers, or their patrons; for who
does not know that females would far rather be married than prostitute
themselves as they do at the present time? And they would lie in wait
to entrap this man and that man, and the other man, to get out of these
brothels, and, as the law is general, if the same law had existed in
our day, it would soon have broken up houses of ill-fame. There might
have been some secret evils; but it would have broken up the "social

The next passage to which I will refer you is in 2nd Chronicles, 24th
chapter, 2nd, 3rd, 15th and 18th verses:

 And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the
 days of Jehoiada the priest. And Jehoiada took for him two wives, and
 he begat sons and daughters.

According to the ideas of monogamists, Jehoiada must have been a very
wicked man, and Joash "a beastly polygamist" for taking two wives. We
will take the man who received the wives first. Joash, who received the
wives from the highest authority God had on the earth, did "right in
the sight of the Lord, all the days of Jehoiada the priest." What! Did
he do right when Jehoiada took two wives for him and gave them to him?
Yes; so says the word of God, the Bible, and you know the question is
"Does the Bible sanction Polygamy?" But what a dreadful priest that man
must have been, according to the arguments of monogamists! Let us see
what kind of a character he appears. In this same chapter, 28th verse,
if I recollect aright: (looking). No, in the 15th and 16th verses we

 But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; a hundred
 and thirty years old was he when he died. And they buried him in the
 city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel,
 both toward God, and toward his house.

"Because he had done good in Israel, both toward God and towards his
house," they buried him among the kings, honored him in that manner;
and the reason why they did bestow this great honor upon him was
because he had done good. In the first place he had given two wives
to Joash, which was a very good act, for he was the highest authority
God had upon the earth at that time; and God sanctioned polygamy by
lengthening out the age of this man to 130 years, a very long age in
those days.

But I shall have to hasten on, although there are many passages which I
have not time to quote. The next will be found in Hosea, 1st chapter,
2nd and 3rd verses: "The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea."
This was the introduction of Hosea as a prophet. No doubt he brought
the evidence as a prophet; and in the beginning of the word of God
through Hosea, to the world, he must have come with great proof. The
first thing the Lord said to him, was "Go take unto thee a wife of
whoredoms." In the 3rd verse it says: "So he went and took Gomer, the
daughter of Diblain." If such a thing had occurred in our day; if a
man had come forth, professing to be a prophet, and the first thing he
said as a prophet was that the Lord had revealed to him that he was
to go and take a wife of such a character, what would be thought of
him? Yet he was a true prophet. Was this the only wife God commanded
Hosea to take? No. The Lord said--"Go yet, love a woman beloved of
her friends, yet an adulteress"--See chapter 3rd. What, love a woman,
an adulteress, when he already had a wife of very bad character! Take
wives of such disgraceful reputation! Yet God commanded this, and he
must be obeyed. This did not justify any other prophet in doing so.
Jeremiah would not have been justified in doing the same. But this was
a command of God, given to Hosea alone. It was not given as a pattern
for any other man to follow after, or for the people of this generation
to observe. Yet it was given in this instance. "But," inquires one,
"does not the Lord require such characters to be put to death?" Yes;
but in this instance, it seems, the Lord deviated from this law; for
He commanded a holy prophet to go and marry two women. This recalls
to my mind the law given to Israel, recorded in Deuteronomy, where
the Lord commanded the law of consanguinity to be broken. You will
recollect that in two different chapters the Lord pointed out who
should not marry within certain degrees of consanguinity; yet in the
25th chapter of Deuteronomy he commanded brethren, who dwell together,
and near kinsmen, to break that law, which was a justification in
part to not regard the law of consanguinity. God has the right to
alter his commands as he pleases. Go back to the days of Noah, and
the command was given: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his
blood be shed;" yet the same God commanded Abraham, that good man who
is up yonder in the kingdom of God, according to the New Testament, to
take his son Isaac and slay him and offer him up as a burnt offering.
Here is one command in opposition to another. Consequently, God does
sometimes give a command in opposition to another, but they are not
examples for you or me to follow. Supposing I should prove by ten
thousand examples from the Bible that polygamy was practised in ancient
Israel, is that a reason why you and I should practise it. No; we must
have a command for ourselves. God sometimes repeats a command. The
Latter-day Saints in this Territory practise polygamy; not because God
commanded it in ancient times, not because Moses gave laws to regulate
it; not because it was practised by good men of ancient times--

(At this point the umpires said the time was up.)

Judge C. M. Hawley then introduced Dr. J. P. Newman, who proceeded to
deliver the following


Honorable Umpires and

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The question for our consideration is "Does the Bible sanction
Polygamy?" It is of the utmost importance that we proceed to the
discussion of this question and the unfolding of its elements at
once; and therefore, that we lose no time, we propose to analyze the
question. I had desired nine hours to speak on this great subject;
but by mutual consent the time has been reduced to three. In view of
this fact I, therefore, proceed at once to the consideration of the
elements of the question "Does the Bible sanction Polygamy?" Every word
is emphatic. Does the Bible--the Bible--God's word, whether in the
original text or in the translation which is accepted by Christendom,
as the revealed will of God; this old book which has come down from the
hoary past; this old book written by different men, under different
circumstances, yet for one great and grand object; this book that comes
to us under the authority of plenary inspiration, no matter what has
become of the manuscripts, whether lost in the flood or consumed in the
flame that burned the doomed Persepolis, no matter what has been their
destiny, we have the original, the Hebrew, the Septuagint and the Greek
translations; in the New Testament the Greek, which have been and are
accepted by the most eminent Biblical scholars; therefore the point
the gentleman makes that so many manuscripts are lost, is a bagatelle.
I throw it away, as useless as a rush. Would he have me infer that
because some manuscripts are lost, therefore that book is not the
authentic word of God and the revealed will of High Heaven? No; for him
to assume that is to assume that that book is not God's will. Supposing
that the original revelation, the pretended revelation, that you, here,
were to practise polygamy, was consumed in the flames by the wife of
Joseph Smith, does that invalidate the preserved copy which Mr. Joseph
Smith had in his bosom? Certainly not. I hold therefore that that old
book comes to us with authority; and that whatever has become of the
manuscripts which have been furnished, formed, arranged and handed down
to us, that is our standard.

I am here to speak to the people, and I will be an organ to you in the
name of the Lord.

But let us look at this book. It is a book of history and of biography,
of prophecy and precepts; of promises and of miracles; of laws and
precepts; of promises and threatenings; of poetry and of narrative.
It is to be judged by the ordinary rules of grammar, of rhetoric and
of logic. It is written in human language. There is a language spoken
by the persons in the Godhead, and had God revealed himself in that
language we could not have understood the terms. There is a language
spoken by the angels that blaze before the throne; had God spoken to
us in angelic language we could not have understood the terms. But
he took human language, with all its poverty and imperfections, and
with all its excellencies. He has spoken to us in terms by which we
can understand his pleasure concerning us. But it is a great fact, my
friends, that all that is written in the Bible is neither approved
by the Almighty, nor was it written for our imitation. Achan stole a
Babylonish garment and a wedge of gold. God did not approve the theft,
nor are those acts recorded in the Bible for our imitation. We are to
read Bible history as we read Xenophon, Tacitus, and Herodotus, and, in
modern times, Hume, Gibbon and Bancroft, with this distinction--when we
take down Herodotus, Tacitus, or others I have not mentioned, we are
not always sure that what we read is true, but we are sure that what is
recorded in the Bible is true, whether it be prophetic truth, mandatory
truth or historic truth. We should therefore make a distinction,
according to the kind of composition we are reading. If we are reading
history, read it as history, and make a distinction between what is
simply recorded as part and parcel of the record of a great nation, or
part and parcel of the record or biography of some eminent man, and
that which is recorded there for our imitation, for which we shall
have to give an account at God's bar. So take the poetry of the Bible.
Scriptural poetry is subject to the same rules as the poetry in Homer,
Virgil, Milton or Young, with this exception--that the poetry of the
Bible is used to convey a grand thought, and there is no redundancy of
thought or imagery in Bible poetry.

We come to biography, and to my mind it is a sublime fact, and one
for which I thank God, that the inspired writers were impartial in
recording biographical history. They recorded the virtues and the
vices of men; they did not disguise the faults even of their eminent
friends, nor did they always stop to pronounce condemnation upon such;
but they recorded one and the other, just as they came along the stream
of time. It is this book, therefore, that is my standard in this
discussion, and it is composed of the Old and New Testament. The New
Testament holds the relation to the Old Testament of a commentary, in
a prominent sense. Christ comes along and gives an exposition of the
law of Moses; comes and gives an exposition of some of those grand
principles which underlie Christianity: and then his references to the
law of Moses simply prove this--that what Moses has said is true. Take
his exposition of the Ten Commandments, as they were given amid the
thunders of Mount Sinai, and you find that he has written a commentary
on the Decalogue, bringing out its hidden meaning, showing to us that
the man is an adulterer who not only marries more women than one, but
who looks on a woman with salacial lust. Such is the commentary on the
law, by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now does this book, the Old Testament and the New? Not what revelation
has been made to the Latter-day Saints; that is not to be brought
into this controversy; that is not the question in dispute. Whether
Joseph Smith or any other member of the Church of Latter-day Saints
has had a revelation from God; whether the holy canon was closed by
the apocalyptic revelations to John on the Isle of Patmos--even that
question is not to be dragged into this controversy. Neither the Mormon
Bible, nor the Book of Covenants, nor the revelations of yesterday or
to-day, or any other day; but the grand question is, Does that old
book--read in old England, read in Wales, read in Ireland, read in
Norway and Sweden, and read in this land of liberty--does that book
sanction polygamy?

We now come to another important word--namely, does the Bible
sanction? Sanction! By the term sanction we mean command, consequently
the authority of positive, written, divine law, or whatever may be
reasonably held as equivalent to such law. It follows, therefore, that
toleration is not sanction. Sufferance is not sanction. Municipal
legislation is not sanction. An historical statement of prevailing
customs is not sanction. A faithful narrative of the life and example
of eminent men is not sanction. The remission of penalty is not
sanction. A providential blessing, bestowed upon general principles,
for an ulterior purpose, is not sanction. The only adequate idea of
sanction is the divine and positive approbation, plainly expressed,
either in definite statute or by such forms of conformation as
constitute a full and clear equivalent. It is in this sense that we
take the term sanction in the question before us.

The next word in the question is, "Does the Bible sanction Polygamy?"
By which we mean, as it (the Bible) now stands. Not as it once was,
but as it now is; that is, the Bible taken as a whole. The question
is not, Did the Bible formerly sanction Polygamy? But rather, Does
it, at the present day, authorize and establish and approve it? Just
as we may say of the Constitution of the United States, not, Did it
sanction slavery? but, does it now sanction it? For it is a well known
principle of jurisprudence that if any thing have been repealed in
the supreme law of the land, which that law once authorized, then it
no longer sanctions the matter in question. It is so here, precisely;
for let us suppose for a moment that it could be proved that the
Bible once sanctioned polygamy, in the sense excepted, and that this
sanction has never been withdrawn, then we are bound to admit that the
affirmative has been sustained; but supposing, on the other hand, that
the Bible, as it is now, to-day, does not sanction polygamy, then we
have sustained the negative of the question.

There is another word, and one of importance, and that is the term
polygamy. There are three words in this connection which should be
referred to. The first is polygamy, which is from the the Greek polus,
and gamos, the former meaning "many," and the latter "marriage" and
signifies a plurality of wives or husbands at the same time. When a
man has more wives than one, or a woman more husbands than one, at
the same time, the offender is punishable for polygamy. Such is the
fact in Christian countries. Polygamy is allowed in some countries,
as in Turkey. Turn to Webster's Dictionary, page 844, and we shall
find the word "polyandry," from polus, many and aner, man, meaning the
practice of females having more husbands than one at the same time, or
a plurality of husbands. Then there is another word--polygyny, from
the Greek polus, and gune, woman or female, the practice of having
more wives than one at the same time. The word, therefore, to be used,
is not polygamy, but polygyny, for polygamy signifies a man with more
wives than one, or a woman with more husbands than one; and it seems
to me that if a man can have more wives than one a woman has the same
right to have more husbands than one. Then the true word is polygyny,
and hereafter we will scout the word polygamy, and use the true word

This question involves or supposes two systems of marriage: What is
commonly called polygamy and what is known as monogamy. On the one
hand a man with more than one wife; and on the other, a man with only
one wife. You observe therefore that these are two systems essentially
and radically different and distinct, the one from the other, and
especially so in this controversy. The material question to be decided
is, which is the authorized system of marriage, polygamy, or a
plurality of wives, or monogamy, or what it termed the one-wife system?

Let us glance for a moment at some of the grand features of monogamy;
and we shall thereby see the distinction between the two systems of
marriage. Take, for instance, the design of marriage, as originally
established by the Almighty in the garden of Eden, in the time of man's
innocency. That design was three-fold: companionship, procreation and
prevention. Companionship is first: the soul is more than the body.
The union of two loving hearts is more than the union of two bodies.
Ere Eve was created or she beheld the rosy sky or breathed its balmy
atmosphere, God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will
make for him a helpmeet." The animals had passed in review before
Adam; but neither among the doves that plumed their pinions in the air
of Paradise; nor amid the fish of the deep, the beasts of the field,
nor the reptiles of the earth could a companion be found for man.
But a special exertion of divine power had to be put forth that this
companion should be made. And how was she made? A deep sleep is caused
to come upon the first man. There lies Adam upon the ambrosial floor of
Paradise, and out of his side a rib is taken, and out of that rib woman
was created. And when some one asked old Martin Luther--"Why did not
God Almighty make the woman out of some other bone of a man than out
of a rib?" The answer was: "He did not make woman out of man's head,
lest she should rule over him; He did not make her out of the bone of
man's foot, lest he should trample upon her; but He made her out of his
side, that she might be near his heart; from under his arm, that he
might protect her." The grand primary object of marriage, therefore, is
companionship--the union of two loving hearts.

The next design is procreation. It has pleased Almighty God to people
the earth by the offspring coming from those united in marriage. This
was his wisdom: this was his plan. It is an old saying that history
repeats itself; and after the flood had swept away the antediluvians,
and after that terrible storm had subsided, there, in the ark, was Noah
and his sons and their wives--four men and four women. If Almighty
God sanctioned polygamy in the beginning, and intended to sanction it
afterwards, why did not He save in the ark a dozen wives for Noah and
a dozen for each of his sons? But one wife for Noah, and one wife for
each of his sons; and thus the Almighty repeats history.

The next design is prevention--namely to prevent the indiscriminate
intercourse of the sexes. God loves chastity in man and in woman,
and therefore he established marriage, it is a divine institution,
lifting man above the brutes. He would not have man as the male of the
brute creation--mingling indiscriminately with the females; but he
establishes an institution holy as the angels--bearing upon its brow
the signet of His approval, and sanctioned by the good and great of all
ages. He establishes this institution that the lines may be drawn, and
that the chastity of male and female may be preserved.

On passing from this question of design, let us go to the consideration
of the very nature of marriage. It is two-fold. It is an institution,
not a law; it is a state, not an act; something that has been
originated, framed, built up and crowned with glory. It is not an act
of mere sexual intercourse, but it is a state to run parallel with the
life of the married pair, unless the bonds of marriage are sundered
by one crime--that is adultery. Then consider the grand fact that
there are solemn obligations in this institution of marriage. Nay,
more than this, the very essential elements of marriage distinguish it
in its monogamic, from the institution of marriage in its polygamic,
condition. There is choice, preference of one man for one woman, and
when we come to the question of the census that will demonstrate it
clear as the sunlight; when we come to that question we will prove the
equality of the sexes; we will prove that there is not an excess of
marriageable women either in this or any other country. Therefore the
grand advice of Paul: "Let every man have his own wife, and every woman
have her own husband."

Now, if the equality of the sexes be a fact, and every man is to
have his own wife, and every woman her own husband, then I say that
this great idea of choice is fully sustained, of preference on the
part of a man, and also preference on the part of woman. And around
this institution God has thrown guards to protect it; indeed, he has
surrounded it with muniments which seem to be as high as heaven; and
whenever the obligations, or so long as the obligations of marriage
are observed, then these defenses stand impregnable and the gates of
hell shall not prevail against marriage. First, there is its innocency:
the union of a man with his wife, is an act as pure as the devotion
of angels in heaven. Then comes the nobleness of marriage: the bed
undefined is honorable in all; but whoremongers and adulterers will God
judge. Then notice the sanction of divine and human law that surrounds
this institution; the law that was given amid the awful thunderings
of Mount Sinai is a grand muniment of this monogamic institution. In
all civilized Christian countries civil legislation has extended the
arm of the law to protect marriage. Then recall the affinities of the
sexes; the natural desire of man for woman; and the natural desire of
woman for man. There may be some exceptions. Now and then we find an
old bachelor in the world; but a man without a wife is only half a man.
Now and then we find a woman in the world who is styled an "old maid;"
but a woman without a husband is only half a humanity. Adam, in the
beginning, was a perfect humanity, possessing the strength, dignity and
courage of man, with the grace, gentleness and beauty of woman. After
Eve's creation he retained the strength, dignity and courage; but lost,
with Eve, the grace, beauty and gentleness; so that it now takes the
union of one man, with the sterner qualities, with one woman, with the
gentler graces, to produce one perfect humanity, and that is the type
of marriage, as instituted by Almighty God, and as is approved by His
divine law.

And, now, I desire to run the parallel between the two systems,
showing how the one is destructive of the other. Take, for instance,
the element, namely, the design, and see how polygamy strikes at the
institution of marriage in that regard. I now refer to companionship,
the union of two loving hearts to the exclusion of a third. A man may
love three or more friends; he may love three or more children; he may
love three or more brothers or sisters; but God has so ordained the law
of affinities between the man and the woman that companionship can only
be secured to the exclusion of a third person. Ah! what a pleasure it
is for a man when away from home to know, "I shall soon return to the
bosom of my wife, and my little children will climb upon my knee and
lisp the child's welcome at my return." And he hastens from afar to
the embraces of that wife. And then what an almost infinity of joy it
is on the part of the woman, whose husband is far away, to know that
he is coming. Says she, "I will stand in the door-way and will watch
his returning footsteps. He is coming to me, to my embrace, to my home
prepared for him!" And with what pride and care the busy housewife
arranges for his return! How neat and beautiful everything is! The
bouquet of flowers is on the table, the best viands are spread on the
board, and everything in the house is prepared with the utmost care!
But oh! what a gloom comes down upon the poor woman's soul when she
knows that he returns not to her, but returns to one, two, three, four,
twelve, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty.

Then see how the system works against the next design--namely,
procreation. It is a fact that in polygamous countries one sex or
the other has preponderance in numbers. Some good authorities say
the females preponderate, others say the males. I do not know, I do
not care a rush which preponderates: all that I say is this, that
good, reliable authorities say that in polygamic--mark you, polygamic
countries, there is a preponderance of one or the other; while in
monogamic nations the great law of equality is brought out. According
to some authorities the tendency of polygamy is to make all males;
according to other authorities to make all females; and if either
follow, then comes the destruction of the race, and within a hundred
years the earth is depopulated and is a howling wilderness.

Take the influence of polygamy upon what may be properly called the
rights of marriage, and these rights are two-fold:--authority on the
part of the man, and protection on the part of the woman. The man is
the head of the family; the man is the high priest of the family;
the man is the legislator and executive of the family. He is to have
reverence from his wife; she is to obey him; and I never performed the
marriage ceremony without including that word when I address the woman,
"Wilt thou obey the man?" That is God's authority, and every true and
loving wife will obey her husband in the Lord as readily as she obeys
the Lord Jesus Christ. But while man is the legislator and executive;
while he is endowed with authority as his right, so, on the other hand,
protection belongs to and is the natural and inalienable right of the
woman. See that ivy as it entwines around the oak! That grand old oak
has sent down its roots and takes hold of the very foundations of the
earth, and its branches tower up towards the sky. See that ivy how it
entwines itself gently, sweetly and beautifully around the oak?

 "A thing of beauty is a Joy forever."

So woman entwines herself, the tendrils of her affection go out and
they entwine themselves around the man; and what must be the depth
of the depravity to which that man has fallen who ruthlessly tears
asunder these gentle tendrils of affection! What the ivy is to the
oak, the woman is to the man; and it is for man, in his pride and
glory, in his strength and energy, with his strong arm to protect
her; and it is woman's right to go to man for protection. But how is
it possible under the system of polygamy for these great rights to be
preserved? It is true that the man retains his right and authority;
this system augments and multiplies that authority. This system is
one of usurpation, extending a right over the larger number that is
not included in God's law. But, on the other hand, where is the right
of woman to protection? A whole soul for a whole soul! A whole body
for a whole body, and a whole life for a whole life! Just like the
shells of the bivalve; they correspond with each other! Just like the
two wings of a bird, male and female. So precisely this great idea of
reciprocity, mutual affection and reciprocal love is developed in this
idea of monogamous marriage. But polygamy, it seems to me, strikes down
this right of woman; in other words, it divides the protecting power
of man in proportion to the number of wives he possesses; and it seems
to me that in view of the distribution of worldly goods in this life a
man can support and protect but one family. Kings, who can tax a whole
people; kings, who can build palaces and rear pyramids; kings, who can
marshal their armies on the banks of the Rhine and go to war, may have
their harems--their plurality of wives; but the poor man, doomed to
toil, with the sweat of labor on his brow, how is it possible for him
to provide for more than one family? Yet if the king in his glory has
the right to have a plurality of wives, so also has the poor man, who
is doomed to toil, the same right; and God Almighty, in making this
law for a plurality of wives, if He has made it, which I, of course,
question, yet, if He has made it, then He has not made provision
for the execution of that law; or, in other words, He has not made
provision for its immunities to be enjoyed by the common people. It is
a law exclusively for nabobs, kings and high priests; for men in power,
for men possessing wealth, and not for me, a poor man, or for you,
[pointing to audience] a poor laborer. God Almighty is just, and a king
is no more before him than a peasant. The meanest of His creatures,
as well as the highest, are all alike unto Him. I ask you, therefore,
to-day, Would He enact a law sanctioning--commanding a plurality of
wives, without making a provision that every man should be in such
financial circumstances as to have a plurality of wives and enjoy them?
See, therefore, how these two systems of marriage are antagonistic one
against the other! And, after hearing this exposition of the nature and
the elements and the rights and the muniments of marriage, it is for
you to infer which is the system which God ordained in the beginning.

My distinguished friend has hastily reviewed many passages of
Scripture, all of which, my friends, I shall notice. I will sift
them to the bottom. My only regret is that my distinguished friend,
for whose scholarship I have regard, did not deliberately take up
one passage and exhaust that passage, instead of giving us here a
passage and there a passage, simply skimming them over without going
to the depths, and showing their philological relation and their
entire practical bearing upon us. When my friend shall give us such
an exegesis and analysis, whether he quotes Hebrew, Greek or Latin, I
will promise him that I will follow him through all the mazes of his
exposition and I will go down to the very bottom of his argument.

I feel bound, to-day, my friends, in my opening speech to give this
analysis of the question and to present to you my ideas of marriage in
contradistinction to the idea of marriage held here as polygamous.

Now I presume that I will pass to the consideration of a few of the
salient points which my distinguished friend threw out.

Let us see in relation to the text he quoted, "If brethren dwell
together," though he wanders back, and it was difficult for me to see
what relation the antediluvians, and what relation old Adam had to
this passage; but he referred to the antediluvians and to Adam, and he
also referred to Lamech. Who was Lamech? He is the first polygamist
on record, the first mentioned in the first two hundred years of the
history of the world. He had two wives; and what else did he have?
He had murder in his heart and blood on his hand, and I aver that
whoever analyzes the case of Lamech, will find that the murder which he
committed grew out of his plurality of wives; in other words, it grew
out of the polygamy which he attempted to introduce into the world.
Said he to his wives, "I have slain a man;" and the inference is that
this man had come to claim his rights.

My friend says that Cain was a murderer, and went down to the land of
Nod; he don't exactly know the geography, but it was somewhere. And
there he found a woman and married her. Now I affirm this, that when
Cain killed his brother Abel he was not married, and he didn't go down
to the land of Nod, then, therefore the murder he committed didn't
grow out of monogamy, and seems to have had no relation to monogamy;
but it grew out of this fact: these two brothers came before the Lord
to present their offerings. Cain was a deist, a moralist as we may
say, that is, he had no sins to repent of. He therefore did not bring
the little lamb as a sacrificial offering, but he came with the first
fruits of the earth as a thank offering. He comes before God Almighty
and says: "I have no sins to atone for, none at all; but here, I am
conscious that thou hast created me and that I am dependent upon thee,
therefore I present to thee the first fruits of the soil." Abel comes
with his thank offering. He brings his lamb and lays it upon the altar,
and that lamb pre-intimated the coming of Jesus Christ, who is "the
lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world;" and if there is
any record that Abel brought a thank offering, it is a principle in
theology and in scriptural exposition that the whole includes the
part, just as Saint Paul says: "I beseech you, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies a living sacrifice to God." Do you think that
he excluded the soul? No, he speaks of one as including the other. So
the offering which Abel presented was an offering, sacrificial in its
nature, pointing to Christ. Now, perhaps by sending down fire from
heaven, or at all events in some significant manner, God recognized the
righteousness of Abel, and expressed a preference for his offering, and
Cain was wroth, and his pride belched forth and he slew his brother.
The murder, therefore, had no reference, directly or indirectly, to
marriage, while the murder which the first polygamist mentioned in
history committed grew out of the marriage relation.

Then my friend goes back to Adam, and says our first parents wore
clothes made of skins, and therefore we must wear similar ones. Well,
let us see. Our first parents were placed in a garden and were driven
out of a garden, therefore we must be placed in a garden and driven
out of a garden. The first man was created out of the dust of the
earth, therefore all subsequent men must be created out of the same
material. The first woman was created out of man's rib, therefore all
subsequent women must be made so. They would make very nice women, no
doubt about that! Such is the logic of my friend! So you may follow on
his absurdities. He has failed to make a distinction between what is
essential to marriage and what is accidental to marriage; or in other
words, he has failed to make a distinction between the creation and
the fall of man, and between the institution and characteristics of
marriage. One, therefore, is surprised at such arguments, and drawn
from such premises!

Now, my friends, that first marriage in the garden of Eden is the great
model for all subsequent marriages: one man and one woman. My friend
says that God could have made more if He had chosen; but He did not
do so, and it seems to me, if God Almighty had designed that all us
men should be polygamists, and that polygamy should be the form of
marriage, that in the very beginning He would have started right, that
is, He would have made a number of women for the first man. Ah! what a
grand sanction that would be; but instead of that He makes one man and
one woman, and says--"For this cause shall a man leave his father and
mother and cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh."

This is not merely an historical fact; were it so I think the argument
would be with my friend. But as I come along the stream of time I find
this fact referred to as expressing a great law. I hear old Malachi
repeating the same words, referring to this institution of marriage
in the garden of Eden, reproving the Jews for their practice of
polygamy, putting the pungent question to their conscience--"Why have
ye dealt treacherously with the wife of your youth?"--your first wife,
the one with whom you went to the bridal altar and swore before high
Heaven that you would forsake all others and cleave unto her so long
as you both live. "Ah!" that old prophet asks, "why have you dealt
thus treacherously with the wife of your youth and the wife of your
covenant?" God hates this putting away, says the prophet, and then
he refers to Eden as a reason for his reproof. The reason is purely
monogamous, and that in the beginning God created one woman for one
man, and one man for one woman.

When the Pharisees propounded a question to the Lord Jesus Christ,
touching divorce, he refers to the same grand idea spoken of by the
Prophet Malachi: "Have ye not read that in the beginning God created
them male and female?" Thus re-enacting, as it were, the marriage law;
thus lifting marriage, which had been stained by polygamy, from its
degradation, and re-establishing it in its monogamic purity. And then
St. Paul, corroborating the words of Jesus, [at this time the umpires
said the time was up] refers to the marriage in Eden, and says, "God
created them, male and female, one flesh." This is the great truth
brought out in the Bible.


After opening with religious exercises Prof. Pratt commenced:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We again come before you this afternoon, being the second session of
our discussion, to examine the question: "Does the Bible Sanction
Polygamy?" I will here remark, that yesterday afternoon I occupied one
hour upon the subject, and brought forth numerous evidences from the
Bible to show that polygamy was a divine institution sanctioned by the
Bible, and sanctioned by the Almighty, who gave the laws contained in
the Bible. Here let me observe that it is of the utmost importance to
clearly understand the point under discussion. I perceive that in the
arguments that followed me yesterday the subject is dwelt upon somewhat
lengthily with regard to the meaning of the term polygamy--that it
included both a plurality of wives and a plurality of husbands. Hence a
new term was introduced by the reverend Doctor, who followed me, namely
polygyny, if I recollect the term, having reference to the plurality of
wives. This seems to be the question under discussion: Does the Bible
Sanction Polygamy? and as the word polygamy appears to be discarded
and scouted, it would be: Does the Bible Sanction Polygyny? Perhaps
I may not have the term aright; that is, Does the Bible sanction
plurality of wives? It was was said by the speaker who followed me,
in relation to the plurality of wives--perhaps I had better refer to
some of his remarks from print, lest my memory should not serve me on
the occasion. The first remark to which I will call your attention is
in regard to the original of the Bible. I admit in this discussion the
Bible called King James' translation as authority. I admit the Bible
in the original Hebrew, if it can be found. Of course we have Hebrew
Bibles at the present day. I hold one in my hand; that is, a Bible in
the Hebrew language. But there is no such thing in existence as the
original copies of the Bible; neither secondary copies; and copies that
might come in as the hundreth copy, I presume, cannot be found, as, for
instance, of the original law of Moses, written on tables of stone.
Such tables and such original law have not been in existence to our
knowledge for the last eighteen hundred years. We cannot refer to them;
we cannot refer to any copies only those that have been multiplied in
modern times--that is, comparatively modern times. And inasmuch as
these copies disagree one with the other, so much so that it is said
there are thirty thousand different readings in the various manuscripts
and copies, who is to decide whether this Hebrew Bible, translated
from one of a number of manuscripts, is translated from the original
or not? Certainly it would not do for me as an individual to set up my
judgment in the matter; nor for any other learned man to set up his
judgment. I would far rather take the translation known as King James',
made by the able translators chosen in his day; men of great learning,
who had studied the original languages, the Hebrew and the Greek, and
had become extensively acquainted with manuscripts in existence; I say
I would far rather take their judgment than one that might be advanced
by myself, or by any other learned man, however deeply he might be
versed in the Hebrew or Greek. I do not by these remarks disparage the
Bible, or set it aside. By no means. I accept it as proof that it was
translated by those men who were chosen for the purpose. And hundreds
of thousands, I may say scores of millions, of copies of this Bible
have been circulated among all nations in various languages. They have
been sent forth by millions among the inhabitants of the earth for
their information.

We will pass along after having decided upon the nature of the Bible
that is to be admitted as evidence and proof in regard to polygamy.
It was stated in the course of the remarks of the reverend gentleman
in relation to polygamy, or polygyny, whichever term we feel disposed
to choose, that marriage with more than one woman is considered
adultery. I will read one or two of Mr. Newman's sentences: "Take his
exposition"--that is the Savior's--"Take his exposition of the ten
commandments as they were given amid the thunders of Mount Sinai, and
you find he has written a commentary on the Decalogue, bringing out its
hidden meaning, showing to us that the man is an adulterer who not only
marries more women than one, but who looks on a woman with salacial
lust. Such is the commentary on the law by the Lord Jesus Christ."

With part of this I agree most perfectly. If a man, according to the
great commentary of our Savior, looks upon a woman with a lustful heart
and lustful desire, he commits adultery in his heart, and is condemned
as an adulterer. With the other part I do most distinctly disagree. It
is merely an assertion of the reverend gentleman. No proof was adduced
from the New Testament Scriptures; no proof was advanced as the words
of the great commentator, the Lord Jesus Christ, to establish the
position that a man who marries more than one woman is an adulterer. If
there is such a passage contained within the lids of the New Testament,
it has not come under my observation. It remains to be proved,

We will now pass on to another item, that is, the meaning of the word
"sanction:" "Does the Bible sanction polygamy?" I am willing to admit
the full force and meaning of the word sanction. I am willing to take
it in all of its expositions as set forth in Webster's unabridged
edition. I do not feel like shirking from this, nor from the definition
given. Let it stand in all its force. The only adequate idea of
sanction, says Mr. Newman, is a divine and positive approbation,
plainly expressed; or stated so definitely and by such forms of
expression as to make a full and clear equivalent. It is in this way
that we take the term sanction in the question before us. Admit that
it must be expressed in definite terms, these terms were laid before
the congregation yesterday afternoon. From this Bible, King James'
translation, passage after passage was brought forth to prove the
divine sanction of polygamy; direct commands in several instances,
wherein the Israelites were required to be polygamists; and in one
instance, especially, where they were required under the heaviest curse
of the Lord: "Cursed be he that continueth not in all things written
in this book of the law; and let all the people say Amen," was the
expression. I say, under this dreadful curse and the denunciations of
the Almighty, the people were commanded to be polygamists. Did this
give authority and sanction to practise that divine institution? It
certainly is sanction, or I do not understand the meaning of the word
as defined by Webster, and the meaning of the arguments presented by
my opponent. I waited in vain yesterday afternoon for any rebutting
evidence and testimony against this divine sanction. I was ready
with my pencil and paper to record anything like such evidence, any
passage from the Bible to prove that it was not sanctioned. I heard
a remarkable sermon, a wonderful flourish of oratory. It certainly
was pleasing to my ears. It fell upon me like the dews of heaven, as
it were, so far as oratorical power was concerned. But where was the
rebutting testimony? What was the evidence brought forth? Forty-nine
minutes of the time were occupied before it was even referred to;
forty-nine minutes passed away in a flourish of oratory, without
having the proofs in rebuttal and the evidence examined which I had
adduced. Then eleven minutes were left. I did expect to hear something
in those eleven minutes that would in some small degree rebut the
numerous evidences brought forth to establish and sanction polygamy.
But I waited in vain. To be sure, one passage, and only one that had
been cited, in Deuteronomy, was merely referred to; and then, without
examining the passage and trying to show that it did not command
polygamy, another item that was referred to by myself with regard to
Lamech and Cain was brought up. Instead of an examination of that
passage, until the close of the eleven minutes, the subject of Abel's
sacrifice and Cain's sacrifice, and Cain's going to the Land of Nod
and marrying a wife, and so on, occupied the time. All these things
were examined, and those testimonies that were brought forth by me were

Now, then, we will proceed to the fourth, or rather to the fifth
position he took; that is the first great form of marriage established
in the beginning--"one woman created for one man." However, before I
dwell upon this subject, let me make a correction with regard to Cain
and Lamech; then we will commence on this argument. I did not state
yesterday afternoon, as it was represented by the speaker who followed
me, that Cain went to the land of Nod and there married a wife, for
there is no such thing in the Bible. I stated that Cain went to the
land of Nod, after having murdered his brother Abel. I stated that we
were not to suppose that God had created any woman in the Land of Nod,
and that Cain took his wife in the land of Nod. We are not to suppose
this; but we are to suppose that he took his wife with him. He went to
and arrived in the land of Nod, and begat a child. So says the Bible.
But what has all this to do with regard to the form of marriage? Does
it prove anything? No. The murder that Cain committed in slaying his
brother Abel does not prove anything against the monogamic form of
marriage, nor anything in favor of it. It stands as an isolated fact,
showing that a wicked man may be a monogamist. How in regard to Lamech?
Lamech, so far as recorded in the Bible, was the first polygamist; the
first on record. There may have been thousands and tens of thousands
who were not recorded. There were thousands and tens of thousands of
monogamists, yet, I believe, we have only three cases recorded from
the creation to the flood, a period of some sixteen hundred years or
upwards. The silence of Scripture, therefore, in regard to the number
cf polygamists in that day, is no evidence whatever.

But it has been asserted before this congregation that this first case
recorded of a polygamist brought in connection with it a murder; and
it has been indicated or inferred that the murder so committed was
in defence of polygamy. This I deny; and I call upon the gentleman
to bring forth one proof from that Bible, from the beginning to the
end of it, to prove that murder had anything to do in relation to the
polygamic form of marriage of Lamech. It is true he revealed his crime
to his wives, but the cause of the crime is not stated in the book.
What, then, had it to do with the divinity of the great institution
established called polygamy? Nothing at all. It does not condemn
polygamy nor justify it, any more than the murder by Cain does not
condemn the other form of marriage nor justify it.

Having disposed of these two cases, let me come to the first
monogamist, Adam. Let us examine his character, and the character of
his wife. Lamech "slew a young man to his wounding, a young man to his
hurt." That was killing one, was it not? How many did Adam kill? All
mankind; murdered the whole human race! How? by falling in the garden
of Eden. Would mankind have died if it had not been for the sin of
this monogamist? No. Paul says "that as in Adam all die, so in Christ
shall all be made alive." It was by the transgression of this first
monogamist and his monogamic wife, that all mankind have to undergo
the penalty of death. It was the cause, and I presume it will be
acknowledged on the part even of monogamists that it was a great crime.
What can be compared with it? Was Cain's crime, or Lamech's crime to
be compared with the crime of bringing death and destruction, not only
upon the people of the early ages, but upon the whole human race?
But what has all that to do with regard to the divinity of marriage?
Nothing at all. It does not prove one thing or the other. But when
arguments of this kind are entered into by the opponents of polygamy,
it is well enough to examine them and see if they will stand the test
of scripture, and sound reason, of sound argument and sound judgment.
Moreover, Adam was not only guilty of bringing death and destruction
upon the whole human race, but he was the means of introducing fallen
humanity into this world of ours. Why did Cain slay Abel? Because he
was a descendant of that fallen being. He had come forth from the loins
of the man who had brought death into the world. When we look abroad
and see all the various crimes, as well as murder, that exist on the
face of the globe; when we see mankind committing them; see all manner
of degradation and lust; see the human family destroying one another,
the question might arise, What has produced all these evils among men?
They exist because a monogamic couple transgressed the law of heaven.

The learned gentleman referred us to a saying of that great man, Martin
Luther, concerning the relationship that exists between husband and
wife. It was a beautiful argument. I have no fault whatever to find
with it. And it is just as applicable to polygamy as to monogamy. The
answer of Martin Luther to the question put to him--Why God took the
female from the side of man, is just as appropriate, just as consistent
with the plural form of marriage as it is with the other form. He did
not take the woman from the head. Why? The argument wad that the man
should be the head, or as Paul says--"Man is the head of the woman,"
and that is his position. I believe my learned opponent agrees with me
perfectly in this, so there is no dispute upon this ground. Why did not
He take the woman from the foot? Because man is not to tyrannize over
his wife, nor tread her under foot. Why did He take her from his side?
Because the rib lies nearest the heart, showing the position of woman.
Not only one woman but two women, five women, ten women, twenty women,
forty women, fifty women, may all come under the protecting head. Jesus
says: "No man can serve two masters," because he may love the one and
hate the other, cleave unto the one and turn away from the other; but
it is not so with women under the protecting head.

Now let us examine polyandry, for that was referred to yesterday; and
the reverend gentleman could not see why, if a man has the privilege of
taking more wives than one, a woman should not have the same privilege.
If that is expressed in the Bible we have not found it; the other is
expressed there, and we have proved it, and call upon the reverend
gentleman to show the opposite. When we come to polyandry, or the woman
having more husbands than one, there is no sanction for it in the
Scriptures. What is the object of marriage? Companionship, we are told.
I agree with the gentleman. Another object he says is procreation.
I agree with the gentleman also in the second object. Another was
prevention. Here I agree with him so far as the argument is carried out
in a true light. Let us examine the second, namely procreation. The
Lord instituted marriage--the sacred bond of marriage--for the purpose
of multiplying the human species here on the earth. Does polyandry
assist in the multiplying of the human species, the woman having four,
or five, or ten, or fifty, or sixty husbands? Does it tend to rapidly
increase the race? I think monogamists as well as polygamists, when
they reflect, will say that a woman having more than one husband
would destroy her own fruitfulness. Even if she did have offspring,
there would be another great difficulty in the way, the father would
be unknown. Would it not be so? All knowledge of the father would be
lost among the children. Is this the case with a plurality of wives?
No, by no means. If a man have fifty wives the knowledge of the father
is as distinct as the knowledge of the mother. It is not destroyed,
therefore. The great principle of parentage on the part of the
husband, on the part of the father, is preserved. Therefore it is more
consistent, more reasonable, first for procreation, and secondly for
obtaining a knowledge of parentage, that a man should have a plurality
of wives than that a woman should have a plurality of husbands.

Again; a man with a plurality of wives is capable of raising up a
very numerous household. You know what the Scriptures have said about
children: "Children are the heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the
womb is his reward." This being the case, a faithful, righteous, holy
man, who takes, according to the great, divine institution of polygamy,
a plurality of wives, is capable of multiplying his offspring ten or
twenty-fold more than he could by one wife. Can one wife do this by
polyandry? No. Here then is a great distinction between the male and
the female. Look at that great and good and holy man, called Gideon
in the Scriptures; a man to whom the angel of God was sent, and who,
among all the hosts of Israel was chosen to go forth as the servant
of the Most High. For what purpose? To deliver Israel from their
enemies, the Midianites and others that had gathered against them.
Was he a polygamist? Yes. He had many wives. He had seventy-two sons.
How many daughters he had I do not know. Could any woman in polyandry
conceive or bring forth seventy-two sons and perhaps an equal number of
daughters? I do not know but there might be some efficacy in that herb
called "mandrake," or in some other miraculous herb that would give
power and strength for one woman to bring forth seventy-two sons. Who
knows, in a day of wonders like this! But a man has the ability, a man
has the power to beget large families and large households. Hence we
read of many of the great and notable men who judged Israel, that one
man had thirty sons--his name was Jair; you will find it recorded in
the Judges of Israel; and another had thirty sons and thirty daughters;
while another Judge of Israel had forty sons. And when we come to the
Gideon we have named, he had seventy-two. Now, we have nothing to do
with the righteousness of these men, or their unrighteousness, in this
connection. That has nothing to do with the marriage institution.
God has established it by divine command. God has given it his own
sanction, whether it be the polygamic or the monogamic form. If Gideon
afterwards fell into idolatry, as the reverend gentleman may argue,
that has nothing to do with the matter. He had the power to beget
seventy-two sons, showing he had a superior power to that of the female.

Right here, I may say, God is a consistent Being; a Being who is
perfectly consistent, and who delights in the salvation of the human
family. A wicked man may take unto himself a wife, and raise unto
himself a posterity. He may set before that wife and her posterity a
very wicked example. He may lead those children by his drunkenness, by
his blasphemy, by his immoralities, down to destruction. A righteous
man may take fifty wives, or ten, as you choose; and he will bring
up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; he will
instruct them in the great principles of righteousness and truth,
and lead them along and bring them up by his example and by his
teachings to inherit eternal life at the right hand of God, with
those polygamists of ancient times, Abraham and Jacob of old, who are
up yonder in the kingdom of God. Which of the two is the Lord most
pleased with? The man who has five, or ten, or twenty wives, bringing
up his children, teaching them, instructing them, training them so
that they may obtain eternal life with the righteous in the Kingdom
of God; or the monogamist that brings up his children in all manner
of wickedness, and finally leads them down to hell? Which would you
prefer with your limited wisdom when compared with that of the great
Creator? Who among you would not prefer to entrust your offspring with
your friends instead of your enemies? Would not God, therefore, upon
the same principle, do the same? Does God delight in the marriages that
exist among the wicked? Go to the antediluvian race. They married and
were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered into the ark.
They were not righteous men nor righteous women; and their children
were taught in the wicked precepts of their fathers, who committed all
manner of wickedness until all flesh had corrupted itself before the
Lord. Therefore the Lord had to destroy those evil workers of iniquity
that had received wives, but did not honor nor regard the Lord. Instead
of those marriages consummated before the flood, the marriages and
intermarriages among the sons of God and the daughters of men, being
acceptable to the Most High, He was obliged to destroy those that were
married and their offspring from the face of the earth. How much better
it would have been had they been righteous polygamists who would have
brought forth a pure offspring that the Lord could have exalted to
eternal life. Consequently, when we examine the subject of polygamy
in regard to this matter, we must acknowledge, from these scriptures,
and from various other testimonies, that the marriages of the wicked
are not approved by the Heavens. There are many passages of scripture
to support me in what I have now said. The Lord in one place commands
the destruction of a people, parents and children, "lest they should
fill the world with cities," lest all the world should be filled with
people who had married contrary to His law. No person can pretend that
a marriage consummated between an unrighteous man and an unrighteous
woman, is a marriage in which God has joined the parties together. You
might as well take the ordinance of baptism, and say that Simon Magus,
when he went forward and was baptized, had complied with the ordinance
of Heaven, while he yet remained in a condition of hardened sinfulness;
and that because he had passed through the outward observance of the
ordinance it was acceptable in the sight of Heaven. God never had
anything to do with the marriages of the wicked only to permit them,
perhaps for a wise purpose, as he permitted Joseph to be sold into
Egypt by his brethren. He permitted the deed for his own wise purposes,
but He did not justify the instruments who did the deed. So he permits
these unauthorized marriages between wicked men and wicked women, to
perpetuate the human race, because they will not hearken to Him, until
the time shall come when he can have a pure people who will obey his
laws, educating their posterity to honor and serve him. He permits, but
He does not sanction such marriages.

If we should argue with the reverend gentleman that the census shows an
equality of males and females, this argument that I have now advanced
will rebut the idea thus sought to be established. The idea is that
because there may be made to appear an equality in numbers, therefore,
every man must be confined to one wife and every woman must have one
husband. Is that the way God dispenses his gifts and blessings to the
human family? Does he give the same amount of blessings to the wicked
that He does to the righteous? In some respects He does. He sends the
rain from heaven upon the just and the unjust. But there are many
great and important blessings that are bestowed more abundantly upon
the righteous than upon the wicked. God has holy designs to accomplish
when He makes a distinction between the righteous and the wicked in
dispensing His blessings. Therefore if the wicked take wives without
their being joined together by divine authority, those wives have
allied themselves to their husbands without the Lord's sanction.
Because the Lord permits this it does not prove that He sanctions
it; and He would prefer that a people should be like Israel of old,
a nation of polygamists as well as monogamists, and the blessings
be dispensed between them, rather than have this so-called perfect
equality between the males and females, and a wicked generation be
the result. To prove this I will refer you to the 37th Psalm. God in
that Psalm has expressly said, and repeated again and again, that
the seed of the evil-doers should he rooted out of the earth, while
the righteous should inherit it and should prosper. He bestows His
blessings upon the one and His curses upon the other.

I shall expect this afternoon to hear some arguments to refute those
passages brought forward to sustain polygamy as well as monogamy; and
if the gentleman can find no proof to limit the passages I have quoted
to monogamic households, if there is no such evidence contained in the
passages, and there is nothing in the original Hebrew as it now exists
to invalidate them, then polygamy as a divine institution stands as
firm as the throne of the Almighty. And if he can find that this form
of marriage is repealed in the New Testament; if he can find that God
has in any age of the world done away with the principle and form of
plural marriage, perhaps the argument will rest with the other side.
I shall wait with great patience to have some arguments brought forth
on this subject. We are happy, here in this Territory, to have the
learned come among us to teach us. We have embraced the Bible as a
rule of faith; and if we misunderstand it, if we are acting contrary
to its precepts, how very happy we should be to have the learned come
from abroad--people who are acquainted with the original languages--to
correct us and set us right. I think this is generous on the part
of those gentlemen; much more so than it would be to enact laws and
incarcerate in dungeons those who practice a form of marriage laid down
in this book; to send them for three, or four, or five years to prison,
tearing them from their poor wives and children, while their families
would suffer hardship and hunger, being robbed of their natural
protectors. We thank Mr. Newman and those who have come with him with
their hearts full of philanthropy to enlighten us here in this mountain
Territory, and if possible convince us of our errors.

I have many arguments that I have not drawn upon, not only to reason
upon, but testimonies as well in favor of polygamy; but I am informed
that only seven minutes of the time remains to me. I cannot, therefore,
pretend on this occasion to enter into these arguments and examine
them with that justice that should be expected before the people. Mr.
Newman has said he would like nine hours to bring forth his arguments
and his reasonings for the benefit of the poor people of Utah. I wish
he would not only take nine hours, but nine weeks and nine months, and
be indeed a philanthropist and missionary in our midst; and try and
reclaim this poor people from being the "awful beastly" people they are
represented abroad. We are very fond of the Scriptures. We do not feel
free to comply with a great many customs and characteristics of a great
many of those who call themselves Christians. Much may be said upon
this subject; much, too, that ought to crimson the faces of those who
call themselves civilized, when they reflect upon the enormities, the
great social evils, that exist in their midst. Look at the great city
of New York, the great metropolis of commerce. That is a city where we
might expect some of the most powerful, and learned theologians to hold
forth, teaching and inculcating principles and lessons of Christianity.
What exists in the midst of that city? Females by the tens of
thousands, females who are debauched by day and by night; females who
are in open day parading the streets of that great city! Why, they are
monogamists there! It is a portion of the civilization of New York
to be very pious over polygamy; yet harlots and mistresses by the
thousands and tens of thousands walk the streets by open day, as well
as by night. There is sin enough committed there in one twenty-four
hours to sink the city down like Sodom and Gomorrah.

We read that there was once a case of prostitution among the children
of Benjamin in ancient days. Some men came and took another man's wife,
or concubine, whichever you please to call her; some men took her and
abused her all night; and for that one sin they were called to account.
They were called upon to deliver up the offenders but they would not do
it, and they were viewed as confederates. And what was the result of
that one little crime--not a little crime--a great one; that one crime
instead of thousands? The Lord God said to the rest of the tribes of
Israel, Go forth and fight against the tribe of Benjamin. They fought
against Benjamin; and the next day they were again commanded to go
forth and fight against Benjamin. They obeyed; and the next day they
were again so commanded; and they fought until they cut off the entire
tribe except six hundred men. The destruction of nearly the whole tribe
of Benjamin was the punishment for one act of prostitution.

Compare the strictness that existed in ancient Israel with the
whoredoms, the prostitution and even the infanticide practised in all
the cities of this great nation; and then because a few individuals
in this mountain Territory are practising Bible marriage a law must
be threatened to inflict heavy penalties upon us; our families must
be torn from us and be driven to misery, because of the piety of a
civilization in which the enormities I have pointed out exist.

To close this argument I now call upon the reverend gentleman, whom I
highly respect for his learning, his eloquence and ability, to bring
forth proof to rebut the passages laid down in yesterday's argument in
support of the position that the Bible sanctions polygamy. I ask him to
prove that those laws were limited. If they were limited--

(Here the umpires announced that the time was up.)

Dr. NEWMAN Rose and Said:

Messrs. Umpires and Ladies and Gentlemen:

I understand the gentleman to complain against me that I did not
answer his Scriptural arguments adduced yesterday. If I did not the
responsibility is upon him. He, being in the affirmative, should have
analyzed and defined the question under debate; but he failed to do
that. It therefore fell to me, not by right, but by his neglecting to
do his duty; and I did it to the best of my ability. It was of the
utmost importance that this audience, so attentive and so respectable,
should have a clear and definite understanding of the terms of the
question; and I desire now to inform the gentleman, that I had the
answers before me to the passages which he adduced, and had I had
another hour, I would have produced them then. I will do it to-day.
Now, my learned friend will take out his pencil, for he will have
something to do this afternoon.

A passing remark--a word in regard to the original manuscripts, written
by Moses, or Joshua, or Samuel, or the prophets. You sit down to
write a letter to a friend; you take it into your head to copy that
letter; you copy that letter; the original draft you care nothing
about--whether it is given to the winds or the flames. What care I
about the two tables of stone on which the original law was written,
so that I have a true copy of this law? A passing remark in regard to
Mother Eve. I will defend the venerable woman! If the Fall came by the
influence of one woman over one man, what would have happened to the
world if Adam had had more wives than one? More, if one woman, under
monogamy, brought woe into the world, then a monogamist, the blessed
virgin Mary, brought the Redeemer into the world, so I think they are

My friend supposes that the Almighty might have created more women than
one out of Adam's ribs; but Adam had not ribs enough to create fifty
women. My friend speaks against polyandry, or the right of woman to
have more husbands than one. He bases his argument upon the increase
of progeny. Science affirms that where polygamy or polygyny, or a
plurality of wives prevails, there is a tendency to a preponderance or
predominance of one sex over the other, either male or female, which
amounts to an extermination of the race.

I will reply, in due time, to the gentleman's remarks in regard to
Gideon and other Scriptural characters, and especially in regard to
prostitution, or what is known as the social evil. But first, what was
the object of the gentleman yesterday? It was to discover a general
law for the sanction of polygamy. Did he find that law? I deny it.
What is law? Law is the expression of the legislative will; law is
the manner in which an act is performed. It is the law of gravitation
that all things tend to a common centre. It is the law in botany that
the flowers open their fan-like leaves to the light, and close them
beneath the kisses of night. What is the civil law? Simply defining
how the citizens should act. What is the moral law? Simply defining
the conduct of God's moral subjects. Laws are mandatory, prohibitory
and permissive: commanding what should be done; prohibiting what
should not be done, and permitting what may be done. And yet, where
has the gentleman produced this general law which he spent an hour in
searching for yesterday? And then remember, that this law must sanction
polygamy! Perhaps it is not necessary to repeat our definition of the
word "sanction." My learned friend, for whom I have respect, agrees
with me as to the definition of that term, therefore we need not spend
a solitary moment further touching these two points.

There is another vital point in reference to the nature of law. In
legislating upon any subject there must be a great, organic central
principle, mandatory or prohibitory, in reference to that subject; and
all other parts of the particular law as well as of the general code
must be interpreted in harmony therewith.

Now I propose to produce a law this afternoon, simple, direct and
positive, that polygamy is forbidden in God's holy word. In Leviticus
xviii and 18 it is written: "Neither shalt thou take one wife to
another, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, besides the other in
her life time." There is a law in condemnation of polygamy. It may be
said that what I have read is as it reads in the margin, but that in
the body of the text it reads: "Neither shalt thou take a wife to her
sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, besides the other in her
lifetime." Very well, argumentum ad hominem, I draw my argument from
the speech of the gentleman yesterday. Mr. Pratt said, in his comments
upon the text, "If brethren dwell together,"--Now it is well enough in
the reading of this to refer to the margin, as we have the liberty,
I believe, to do so, and you will find that in the margin the word
brother is translated "near kinsmen." I accept his mode of reasoning:
he refers to the margin, and I refer to the margin; it is a poor rule
that will not work both ways; it is a poor rule that will not favor
monogamy if it favor polygamy. Such then is the fact stated in this law.

Now it is necessary for us to consider the nature of this law and
to expound it to your understanding, it may be proper for me to say
that this interpretation, as given in the margin, is sustained by
the most eminent biblical and classical scholars in the history of
Christendom--by Bishop Jewell, by the learned Cookson, by the eminent
Dwight, and other distinguished biblical scholars. It is an accepted
canon of interpretation that the scope of the law must be considered
in determining the sense of any portion of the law, and it is equally
binding upon us to ascertain the mind of the legislator, from the
preface of the law, when such preface is given. The first few verses of
the xviii chapter of Leviticus are prefatory. In the 3rd verse it is
stated that--

 After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not
 do and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you,
 shall ye no do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.

Both the Egyptians and the Canaanites practised incest, idolatry
sodomy, adultery and polygamy. From verse 6 to verse 17, inclusive, the
law of consanguinity is laid down, and the blood relationship defined.
Then the limits within which persons were forbidden to marry, and in
verse 18 the law against polygamy is given--"neither shalt thou take a
wife to her sister," but as we have given it, "neither shalt thou take
one wife to another," etc.

According to Dr. Edwards, the words which are translated as "wife" or
"sister," are found in the Hebrew but eight times, and in each passage
they refer to inanimate objects, such as the wings of the cherubim,
tenons, mortises, etc., and signify the coupling together one _to
another, the same as thou shalt not take one wife to another_.

Such then is the law. Such were the ordinances forbidden which the
Egyptians and the Canaanites practised. Now we propose to push this
argument a little further. If it is said that this passage does not
prohibit a man marrying two sisters at the same time then such a
marriage is nowhere in the Bible pronounced incestuous. That is the
objection of my friend. To which I reply that such a marriage is
forbidden by sequence and analogy. As for example where the son, in
the 7th verse, is prohibited from marrying his mother, it follows
that the daughter shall not marry her father; yet it is not so given
and precisely stated. In verse 14 it is said--"thou shalt not uncover
the nakedness of thy father's brother;" so I infer that it would be
equally criminal to uncover the nakedness of a mother's brother,
though it is not so stated. In verse 16 it is said--"thou shalt not
uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife," so I infer that a man
shall not uncover the nakedness of his wife's sister that is, if two
brothers shall not take the same woman, then two women shall not take
the same man, for between one man and two sisters, and one woman and
two brothers is the same degree of proximity, and therefore both are
forbidden by the law of God. Furthermore, if for argument's sake, we
consider this means two literal sisters, then this prohibition is
not a permission for a man to take two wives who are not sisters;
for all sound jurists will agree that a prohibition is one thing and
a permission is another thing. Nay, more, the Mormons do or do not
receive the law of Moses as binding. That they do not is clear from
their own practices. For instance, in Leviticus, xx chap. and 14 verse
it is said--

 And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness; they shall
 be burnt with fire, both he and they.

Yet Mr. John Hyde, jr., page 56 of his work called "Mormonism," states
that a Mr. E. Bolton married a woman and her daughter; that Captain
Brown married a woman and her two daughters. These are illustrations
of the violation of the law. More than this Leviticus xviii, 18,
prohibits a man from marrying two sisters; yet Mr. Hyde informs us that
a Mr. Davis married three sisters, and a Mr. Sharkey married the same
number. If the question is, Is the law of Moses obeyed here or not?
and supposing this gentleman can prove that the text means two literal
sisters, and two literal sisters are married here, then I affirm that
you do not keep God's law, or that which you say is God's law, as given
through his servant Moses. Nay, more than this: if it here means two
literal sisters, and, whereas, Jacob married two sisters; and, whereas,
the great Mormon doctrine that God worked a miracle on Leah and Rachel
that they might have children; and, whereas, it is here said that said
miracles were an approval of polygamy, so also were such miracles
an approval of incest; if it be true that God did not express this
approval at Jacob having two wives, neither did he express disapproval
of his having two sisters; therefore the Divine silence in the one case
is an offset to the Divine silence in the other case. Even you are
driven to this conclusion, either my interpretation of this passage is
correct,--neither shall a man take another wife,--two wives, or you
must admit that this passage means two literal sisters, and in either
case you live in violation of God's law. It is for my distinguished
friend to choose which horn of the dilemma he pleases. I thank him
for the compliment he paid me--that I came here as a philanthropist.
I have only kindness in my heart for these dear men and women; and
had not this kindness filled my heart; had I believed in a crushing,
iron, civil law, I could have remained in Washington. But I came here
believing the truth as it is in Jesus, and I am glad to say that I have
the privilege of speaking what I believe to be God's truth in your

The gentleman quoted Deuteronomy xxi, 15-17, which is the law of
primogeniture, and is designed to preserve the descent of property:

 If a man have two wives, one beloved and another hated, and they
 have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the
 first-born son be hers that was hated;

 Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he
 hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved first-born before
 the son of the hated, which is indeed the first-born:

 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the first-born,
 by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the
 beginning of his strength; the right of the first-born is his.

How did he apply this law? Why he first assumed the prevalence of
polygamy among the Jews in the wilderness, and then said the law
was made for polygamous families as well as for monogamous. He
says--"inasmuch as polygamy is nowhere condemned in the law of God, we
are entitled to construe this law as applying to polygamists." But I
have shown already that Leviticus xviii, 18, is a positive prohibition
of this law, and therefore this passage must be interpreted by that
which I have quoted. I propose to erect the balance to-day, and try
every scriptural argument which he has produced in the scales of

I have recited to you God's solemn law--"Neither shall a man take one
wife unto another:" and I will try every passage by this law. My friend
spent an hour here yesterday in seeking a general law; in a minute I
gave you a general law. How natural is the supposition, where a man
has two wives in succession, that he may love the last a little better
than the first! and I believe it is common out here to love the last
a little better than the first. And how natural it is for the second
wife to influence the father in the disposition of his property so
that he will confer it upon her child! while the children of the first
wife, poor woman, perhaps dead and gone, are deprived of their property
rights. But supposing the meaning of this passage is two wives at the
same time, this cannot be construed, by any of the accepted rules of
interpretation, into a sanction of polygamy; if it can, I can prove
that sheep stealing is just as divinely authorized. For it is as if
Moses had said: "for in view of the prevalence of polygamy, and that
you have so far forgotten and transgressed God's law of monogamy as
to take two wives at the same time, therefore this shall not work the
abrogation of the law of primogeniture, the first-born son shall not
thereby be cheated out of his rights." Now it is said: "if a man have
two wives:" very well, if that is a privilege so also are these words:
"If a man shall steal an ox or a sheep and kill it and sell it, he
shall restore five oxen for the ox he stole, and four sheep for the
sheep." If the former assertion is a sanction of polygamy, then the
latter assertion is a sanction of sheep stealing, and we can all go
after the flocks this afternoon.

The second passage, in Exodus xxi, 7th to 11th verses, referring to the
laws of breach of promise, Mr. Pratt says proves or favors polygamy, in
his opinion; but he did not dwell long upon this text. He indulged in
an episode on the lost manuscripts. Now let us inquire into the meaning
of this passage.

 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maid-servant, she shall not go
 out as the men-servants do.

 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then
 shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he
 shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

 And if he hath betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her
 after the manner of daughters.

 If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her duty of
 marriage, shall he not diminish.

 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free
 without money.

What are the significant points in this passage? They are simply
these--According to the Jewish law a destitute Jew was permitted to
apprentice his daughter for six years for a pecuniary consideration;
and to guard the rights of this girl there were certain conditions:
First, the period of her indenture should not extend beyond six years;
she should be free at the death of her master, or at the coming of the
year of jubilee. The next condition was that the master or his son
should marry the girl. What, therefore, are we to conclude from this
passage? Simply this, that neither the father nor the son marry the
girl, but simply betrothed her; that is, engaged her, promised to marry
her: but before the marriage relation was consummated the young man
changed his mind, and then God Almighty, to indicate his displeasure
at a man who would break the vow of engagement, fixes the following
penalties, namely that he shall provide for this woman, whom he has
wronged, her food, her raiment and her dwelling, and these are the
facts: and the gentleman has not proved, the gentleman cannot prove,
that either the father or the son marry the girl. He says the honored
term "wife" is there. Honored term! God bless that term! It is an
honored term, sacred as the nature of angels. Yet I have to inform my
distinguished friend that the word wife is neither in the Hebrew nor
in the Greek, but simply "if he take another," that is if he betroth
another, and then change his mind he shall do thus and so. Where then
is the gentleman's general law in approval of polygamy?

The next passage is recorded in Deuteronomy xxv chap., and from the 5th
to the 10th verses, referring to the preservation of families:

 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child,
 the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her
 husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her unto him to wife,
 and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her.

 And it shall be, that the first-born which she beareth shall succeed
 in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out
 of Israel.

 And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his
 brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My
 husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in
 Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother:

 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if
 he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;

 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the
 elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face,
 and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will
 not build up his brother's house.

 And his name shall be called in Israel, the house of him that hath his
 shoe loosed.

What is the object of this law! Evidently the preservation of families
and family inheritances. And now I challenge the gentleman to bring
forward a solitary instance in the Bible where a married man was
compelled to obey this law. Take the case of Tamar! Certainly the
brother that was to have married her could not have been a married man,
because she had to wait until he grew up. Then take the case of Ruth.
You know how she lost her noble Mahlon afar off beyond Jordan, and
how she returned to Bethlehem, and goes to Boaz, a near kinsman, and
demands that he shall marry her. Boaz says--"there is another kinsman.
I will speak to him." It is asked--"Didn't Boaz know whether the nearer
kinsman was married?" but yet that was not the business of Boaz. The
divine law required that this man should appear at the gate of the
city before the elders, and there either marry her or say that he was
disqualified because he was already a married man; and there is no
proof in the Bible that Boaz had been married; nay, more than this, old
Josephus, the Jewish historian, asserts that the reason why the near
kinsman did not marry Ruth was that he had a wife and children already,
so I judge that this law, which is said to be general, is that that I
laid down--"Neither shall a man take one wife unto another," etc. He
refers me to Numbers xxxi, 17th and 18th verses.

 Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every
 woman that hath known man by lying with him.

 But all the women-children, that have not known man by lying with him,
 keep alive for yourselves.

This passage has nothing whatever to do with polygamy. It is an
account of the results of a military expedition of the Jews against
the Midianites; their slaughter of a portion of the people, and their
reduction of the remainder to slavery--namely the women for domestics.
My friend dwells upon thirty-two thousand women that were saved! What
were these among the Jewish nation--a people numbering two and a half

He quotes Deuteronomy xxi, 10th and 13th verses:

 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy
 God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them

 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto
 her, that thou wouldst have her to thy wife;

 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her
 head, and pare her nails;

 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall
 remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full
 mouth: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband
 and she shall be thy wife.

This passage is designed to regulate the treatment of a captive woman
by the conqueror who desires her for a wife, and has no more to do with
polygamy than it has to do with theft or murder. Not a solitary word
is said about polygamy, no mention is made that the man is married,
therefore every jurist will agree with me that where we find a general
law we may judge a special enactment by the organic, fundamental

He quoted Exodus xxii chap., 16 and 17, and Deuteronomy xxii, and 28
and 29:

 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he
 shall surely endow her to be his wife.

 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money
 according to the dowry of virgins.

In Deuteronomy it is said:

 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and
 lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father
 fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath
 humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

My friend appeared to confound these two laws, as if they had reference
to the same crime; but the first is the law of seduction, while the
second was the law of rape. In both cases the defiler was required to
marry his victim; but in the case of seduction, if the father of the
seduced girl would not consent to the marriage, then the sum usual
for the dowry of a virgin should be paid him and the offense was
expiated. But what was the penalty of rape? In that case there is no
ambiguity--the ravisher married his victim and paid her father fifty
pieces of silver besides. But what has this to do with polygamy? He
says it is a general law and applies to married men. This cannot be so,
because it is in conflict with the great law of Leviticus xviii, 18.

I tell you, my friends, these are simple downright assumptions. The
position is first taken, and therefore these passages are adduced to
sustain that position; and this gentleman goes on to assume that all
these men are married men. It is a tremendous fact, that if a man
seduced a girl or committed a rape upon her, he was bound to marry that
girl. It is a tremendous fact that the same law gives to the father
the right of the refusal of his daughter, therefore the father has the
power to annul God's law of marriage.

The next passage is the 2nd Chronicles, xxiv and 3rd, &c. It is the
case of Joash the king, and when he began to reign Jehoiada was high
priest. He was more than that--he was regent. My friend in portraying
the character of this great man said that because he took two wives for
King Joash, he was so highly honored that when he died he was buried
among the kings. But the fact is, he was regent, and there was royalty
in his regency, and this royalty entitled him to be interred in the
royal mausoleum. All that is said in Chronicles is simply an epitome--a
summing up, that King Joash had two wives. It does not say that he had
them at the same time; he might have had them in succession. I give
you an illustration: John Milton was born in London in 1609. He was
an eminent scholar, a great statesman and a beautiful poet; and John
Milton had three wives. There I stop. Are you to infer that John Milton
had these three wives simultaneously? Why you might according to the
gentleman's interpretation of this passage. But John Milton had them in
succession. But more than this, for argument's sake grant the position
assumed by my friend, then the numerical element of the argument must
come out, and a man can only have two wives and no more. Do you keep
that law here? And yet that is the argument and that is the logical

The last passage my friend referred to was the 1st chapter of Hosea,
and 2nd verse:

 The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said
 to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms, and children of
 whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredoms, departing from
 the Lord.

That is, says Newcomb, a wife from among the Israelites, who were
remarkable for spiritual fornication. My friend is so determined on a
literal interpretation that he gives a literal interpretation, whereas
this distinguished biblical scholar says that it was not literal
fornication, but rather spiritual; in other words, idolatry; for in the
Scriptures, both the Old and the New Testament, idolatry is mentioned
under the term fornication. God calls himself the husband of Israel,
and this chosen nation owed him the fidelity of a wife. Exodus the
xxxiv Chapter and 15th verse:

 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they
 go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and
 one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice.

The 14th verse of the same chapter says:

 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is
 jealous, is a jealous God.

He therefore sees thee with indignation join thyself in marriage to
one of those who had committed fornication or spiritual idolatry, lest
they should raise up children, who, by the power of example, might
lay themselves under the terribleness of idolatry. The prophet is
directed to get a wife of whoredoms; and, after this, he is directed
to go and love an adulterous woman. My friend cites these as examples
where God makes an exception to a general law. He also cites the case
of Abraham offering up his son Isaac, and the case of consanguinity,
in Deuteronomy xxv, from 5th to 10th verse. Now the first three
cases were merely typical; the first two were designed to set forth
more impressively the relations between God and His people. The
case of consanguinity has nothing to do with polygamy. It is only a
modification or exception in special cases for the preservation of the
families of Israel from extinction. Where, therefore, I ask, is the
general law?

But my friend has forgotten this fact, that after having divorced the
first wife for adultery, as he had a right to do, in chapter ii, 2nd
and 5th verses, he is then directed to go and take another wife. This
is not polygamy. It was represented to us here, yesterday, that this
prophet, Hosea, was first commanded to take a woman guilty of adultery
or fornication, and then to take an adulteress, and the representation
was made that he took them and had them at the same time; whereas,
if Mr. Pratt had read a little further, he would have found that the
prophet divorced the first wife for adultery, and he had a right to do
it; and after he divorced her, then he went and took a second wife.

Professor Pratt admits, mark you, admits that none of these passages,
nor all of them together, can afford in this day a warrant for the
practice of polygamy. Gives it up! Turns the Bible aside! I will read
to you from his own words:

 Supposing that we should prove by a thousand evidences from the Bible
 that polygamy was practised by ancient Israel, and was sanctioned by
 God in ancient days, would that be any reason that you and I should
 practise it? By no means. We must get a command independent of that,
 which we have received. God frequently repeats His commands, and His
 servants are required to obey His commands when they are given. The
 Latter-day Saints in this Territory practise polygamy not because the
 law of Moses commands it; not because it was extensively practised
 by the best of men we know of, mentioned in the Bible, the old
 patriarchs, Abraham and Jacob and others, who are saved in the kingdom
 of God. We have no right to practise it because they did it.

Then he yields the point! I respectfully ask him, if this is his
position, why does he attempt, in all his writings, and to establish it
in that clever book the Seer? Why did he, in his controversy with me in
the New York Herald? Why has he from this stand attempted to prove that
the practice of polygamy was right from the Bible? Why not, like a man,
come out and say that we practise this system here, not because the
Jews did it; not because the Divine law sanctioned it years ago; but
because a certain man of the name of Smith received a revelation that
this form of marriage was to be practised? You, my friends, can see the
logical conclusion, or in other words the illogical bearing.

Now, I come to the assumptions by the gentleman. First, that there is
no law condemning or forbidding polygamy. Has he proved that? Second,
that the Hebrew nation, as it was in the wilderness, when the Mosaic
code was given, was polygamous. Has he proved that? Can he find in
the whole history of the Jewish nation, from the time they left Egypt
to the time they entered the land of Canaan, can he find more than
one instance of polygamy? Perhaps he may find two. I will be glad to
receive that information, for I am a man seeking light, and to-day
I throw down a challenge to your eminent defender of the faith, to
produce more than two instances of polygamy, from the time the Jews
left the land of Egypt to the time they entered Canaan. I will assist
him in his research and tell him one, and that was Caleb. Now supposing
that a murder should be committed in your city, would it be fair for
Eastern papers to say that the Mormons are a murderous people? No,
I would rise up in defence of you; I would say that that is a crime
and an injury to the people here! Yet, during a period of forty years
we find one man out of two millions and a half of people practising
polygamy, and my friend comes forward and assumes that the Israelites
were polygamists.

Third, that these laws were given to regulate among them an institution
already existing. Has he proved that? Supposing he could prove that
Moses attempted, or did legislate for the regulation of polygamy, as
it did exist in Egypt and elsewhere, would such legislation establish
a sanction? Why in Paris they have laws regulating the social evil;
is that an approval of the social evil? There are laws in most of the
States regulating and controling intemperance. Do excise laws sanction
intemperance? Nothing of the kind. For argument's sake I would be
willing to concede that Moses did legislate in regard to polygamy,
that is to regulate it, to confine its evils; and yet my friend is too
much of a legislator to stand here and assert that laws regulating and
defining were an approval of a system.

Fourth, that these laws were general, applying to all men, married and
unmarried. Has he proved that? I have proved to the contrary to-day,
showing that in the passages which he quoted there is not a solitary or
remote intimation that the men were married.

Now let us, in opposition to these assumptions, remember that monogamy
was established by God in the innocence of the human race, and that
polygamy, like idolatry, and slavery, blood revenge, drunkenness and
murder came into existence after the apostasy of the human family, and
that neither of these evils have any other origin so far as appears
from the Bible than in the wickedness of man. We admit that polygamy
existed among the corrupt nations, just as any other evil, or vice,
or crime existed, and now when God had chosen the Hebrews for His own
people, to separate them from the heathen, He gives them for the first
time a code of laws, and especially on the subject of the commerce
of the sexes. And what is the central principle of that code on this
subject? Read Leviticus xviii, 18--"Neither shall a man take one wife
unto another."

In this code the following things are forbidden: Incest, polygamy,
fornication, idolatry, beastliness, &c.; we therefore deny that
the nation was polygamous at that time, deny it definitely, deny it
distinctly, and on another occasion I will give you the character of
the monogamists and polygamists of Bible times. The Jews had been four
hundred years in slavery, and they were brought out with a strong hand
and an outstretched arm.

We, to-day, then challenge for the proof that as a nation the Jews
were polygamous. One or two instances, as I have already remarked, can
be adduced. We may say again that if, as he assumes, these laws were
given to regulate the existing system, this does not sanction it any
more than the same thing sanctions sheep-stealing or homicide. He said
these laws were general, applying to all men, married or unmarried. Has
he proved it? This is wholly gratuitous. There is no word in either of
these passages which permits or directs a married man to take more than
one wife at a time. I challenge the gentleman for the proof. It is no
evidence of the sanction of polygamy to bring passage after passage,
which he knows, if construed in favor of polygamy, polygamy must be in
direct conflict with the great organic law recorded in Leviticus xviii,

[At this point the umpires announced that the time was up.]



Ladies and Gentlemen:

We have assembled ourselves in this vast congregation in the third
session of our discussion, to take into consideration the Divinity of
a very important institution of the Bible. The question, as you have
already heard, is "Does the Bible Sanction Polygamy?" Many arguments
have already been adduced, on the side of the affirmative, and also
on the side of the negative. This afternoon one hour is allotted to
me in the discussion, to bring forth still further evidences, which
will close the debate, so far as the affirmative is concerned; then to
be followed by the Reverend Dr. Newman, which will finally close the

Polygamy is a question, or in other words, is an institution of the
Bible; an institution established, as we have already shown, by Divine
authority; established by law--by command; and hence, of course, must
be sanctioned by the great Divine Law-Giver, whose words are recorded
in the Bible.

Yesterday I was challenged by the Reverend Dr. Newman, to bring forth
any evidence whatever to prove that there were more than two polygamist
families in all Israel during the time of their sojourn in the
wilderness. At least this is what I understood the gentleman to say. I
shall now proceed to bring forth the proof.

The statistics of Israel in the days of Moses show that there were of
males, over twenty years of age, Numbers 1st chapter, 49 verse:

 Even all they that were numbered, were six hundred thousand and three
 thousand, and five hundred and fifty.

It was admitted, yesterday afternoon, by Dr. Newman, that there were
two and a half millions of Israelites. Now I shall take the position
that the females among the Israelites were far more numerous than the
males; I mean that portion of them that were over twenty years of
age. I assume this for this reason, that from the birth of Moses down
until the time that the Israelites were brought out of Egypt, some
eighty years had elapsed. The destruction of the male children had
commenced before the birth of Moses; how many years before I know not.
The order of King Pharaoh was to destroy every male child. All the
people, subject to this ruler, were commanded to see that they were
destroyed and thrown into the river Nile. How long a period this great
destruction continued is unknown, but if we suppose that one male child
to every two hundred and fifty persons was annually destroyed, it would
amount to the number of ten thousand yearly. This would soon begin to
tell in the difference between the numbers of males and females. Ten
thousand each year would only be one male child to each two hundred
and fifty persons. How many would this make from the birth of Moses,
or eighty years? It would amount to 800,000 females above that of the
males. But I do not wish to take advantage in this argument by assuming
too high a number. I will diminish it one half, which will still leave
400,000 more females than males. This would be one male destroyed each
year out of every five hundred persons. The females, then, over twenty
years of age would be 603,550, added to 400,000 surplus women, making
in all 1,003,550 women over twenty years of age. The children, then,
under twenty years of age, to make up the two and a half millions,
would be 892,900, the total population of Israel being laid down at
2,500,000 people.

Now, then, for the number of families constituting this population.
The families having first-born males over one month old, see Numbers
iii chapter and 43rd verse, numbered 22,273. Families having no male
children over one month old we may suppose to have been in the ratio
of one-third of the former class of families, which would make 7,424
additional families. Add these to the 22,273 with first-born males
and we have the sum total of 20,697 as the number of the families in
Israel. Now, in order to favor the monogamists' argument, and give them
all the advantage possible, we will still add to this number to make
it even--303 families more, making thirty thousand families in all.
Now comes another species of calculation founded on this data: Divide
twenty-five hundred thousand persons by 22,273 first-born males, and we
find one first-born male to every 112 persons. What a large family for
a monogamist! But divide 2,500,000 persons by 30,000 and the quotient
gives eighty-three persons in a family. Suppose these families to have
been monogamic, after deducting husband and wife, we have the very
respectable number of eighty-one children to each monogamic wife. If we
assume the numbers of the males and females to have been equal, making
no allowance for the destruction of the male infants, we shall then
have to increase the children under twenty years of age to keep good
the number of two and a half millions. This would still make eighty-one
children to each of the 30,000 monogamic households. Now let us examine
these dates in connection with polygamy. If we suppose the average
number of wives to have been seven, in each household, though there may
have been men who had no wife at all, and there may have been some who
had but one wife; and there may have been others having from one up to
say thirty wives, yet if we average them at seven wives each, we would
then have one husband, seven wives and seventy-five children to make
up the average number of eighty-three in the family, in a polygamic
household. This would give an average of over ten children apiece to
each of the 210,000 polygamic wives. When we deduct the 30,000 husbands
from the 605,550 men over twenty years old we have 573,550 unmarried
men in Israel. If we deduct the 210,000 married women from the total of
1,005,550 over twenty years of age, we have 793,550 left. This would
be enough to supply all the unmarried men with one wife each, leaving
still a balance of 220,000 unmarried females to live old maids or enter
into polygamic households.

The law guaranteeing the rights of the first-born, which has been
referred to in other portions of our discussion, includes those 22,273
first-born male children in Israel, that is, one first born male child
to every 112 persons in Israel; taking the population as represented by
our learned friend, Mr. Newman, at two and a half millions. Thus we see
that there was a law given to regulate the rights of the first-born,
applying to over 22,000 first-born male children in Israel, giving them
a double portion of the goods and inheritances of their fathers.

Having brought forth these statistics, let us for a few moments examine
more closely these results. How can any one assume Israel to have
been monogamic, and be consistent? I presume that my honored friend,
notwithstanding his great desire and earnestness to overthrow the
Divine evidences in favor of polygamy, would not say to this people
that one wife could bring forth eighty-one children. We can depend
upon these proofs--upon these biblical statistics. If he assumes
that the males and females were nearly equal in number, that Israel
was a monogamic people, then let Mr. Newman show how these great and
wonderful households could be produced in Israel, if there were only
two polygamic families in the nation. It would require something more
wonderful than the herb called "mandrake," referred to by Dr. Newman
in his rejoinder to my reply to him in the New York Herald. I think he
will not be able to find, in our day, an herb with such wonderfully
efficacious properties, which will produce such remarkable results.

I have therefore established that Israel was a polygamic nation when
God gave them the laws which I have quoted, laws to govern and regulate
a people among whom were polygamic and monogamic families. The nation
was founded in polygamy in the days of Jacob, and was continued in
polygamy until they became very numerous, very great and very powerful,
while here and there might be found a monogamic family--a man with
one wife. Now if God gave laws to a people having these two forms of
marriage in the wilderness, He would adapt such laws to all. He would
not take up isolated instances here and there of a man having one wife,
but He would adapt His laws to the whole; to both the polygamic and
monogamic forms of marriage throughout all Israel.

But we are informed by the reverend Doctor that the law given for the
regulation of matters in the polygamic form of marriage bears upon the
face of it the condemnation of polygamy. And to justify his assertion
he refers to the laws that have been passed in Paris to regulate the
social evil; and to the excise laws passed in our own country to
regulate intemperance; and claims that these laws for the regulation
of evils are condemnatory of the crimes to which they apply. But when
Parisians pass laws to regulate the social evil they acknowledge
it as a crime. When the inhabitants of this country pass laws to
regulate intemperance, they thereby denounce it as a crime. And when
God gives laws, or even when human legislatures make penal laws, they
denounce as crimes the acts against which these laws are directed,
and attach penalties to them for disobedience. When the law was
given of God against murder, it was denounced as a crime by the very
penalty attached, which was death; and when the law was given against
adultery its enormity was marked by the punishment--the criminal was
to be stoned to death. It was a crime, and was so denounced when the
law was given. God gave laws to regulate these things in Israel; but
because He has regulated many great and abominable crimes by law, has
He no right to regulate that which is good and moral as well as that
which is wicked and immoral? For instance, God introduced the law of
circumcision and gave commands regulating it; shall we, therefore
say, according to the logic of the gentleman, that circumcision was
condemned by the law of God, because it was regulated by the law of
God? That would be his logic, and the natural conclusion according to
his logic. Again, when God introduced the Passover. He gave laws how it
should be conducted. Does that condemn the Passover as being immoral
because regulated by law? But, still closer home, God gave laws to
regulate the monogamic form of marriage. Does that prove that monogamy
is condemned by the law of God, because thus regulated? On, that kind
of logic will never do!

Now, then, we come to that passage in Leviticus, the xviii chapter,
and the 18th verse; the passage that was so often referred to in
the gentleman's reply yesterday afternoon. I was very glad to hear
the gentleman refer to this passage. The law, according to King
James' translation, as we heard yesterday afternoon, reads thus:
"Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister to vex her, to uncover
her nakedness, besides the other in her life-time." That was the
law according to King James' translation. My friend, together with
Doctors Dwight and Edwards, and several other celebrated commentators,
disagree with that interpretation; and somebody, I know not whom, some
unauthorized person, has inserted in the margin another interpretation:
recollect, in the margin and not in the text. It is argued that this
interpretation in the margin must be correct, while King James'
translators must have been mistaken. Now, recollect that the great
commentators who have thus altered King James' translation were
monogamists. So were the translators of the Bible; they, too, were
monogamists. But with regard to the true translation of this passage,
it has been argued by my learned friend that the Hebrew--the original
Hebrew--signifies something a little different from that which is
contained in King James' translation. These are his words, as will be
found in his sermon preached at Washington, upon this same subject:
"But in verse 38 the law against polygamy is given, 'Neither shalt
thou take a wife to her sister;' or, as the marginal reading is, 'Thou
shalt not take one wife to another.' And this rendering is sustained by
Cookson, by Bishop Jewell and by Drs. Edwards and Dwight," four eminent
monogamists, interested in sustaining monogamy. According to Dr.
Edwards, the words which we translate 'a wife to her sister' are found
in the Hebrew but eight times. Now we have not been favored with these
authorities, we have had no access to them. Here in these mountain
wilds it is very difficult to get books. In each passage they refer to
inanimate objects; that is, in each of the eight places where the words
are found. We have searched for them in the Hebrew and can refer you
to each passage where they occur. And each time they refer to objects
joined together, such as wings, loops, curtains, etc., and signify
coupling together. The gentleman reads the passage "Thou shalt not take
one wife to another," and understands it as involving the likeness of
one thing to another, which is correct. But does the language forbid,
as the margin expresses it, the taking of one wife to another? No; we
have the privilege, according to the rules or articles of debate, which
have been read this afternoon, to apply to the original Hebrew. What
are the Hebrew words--the original--that are used? _Veishah el-ahotah
lo tikkah:_ this, when literally translated and transposed is, "neither
shalt thou take a wife to her sister," veishah being translated by
King James' translators "a wife," el-ahotah being translated "to her
sister;" lo is translated "neither;" while tikkah is translated by
King James' translators "shalt thou take." They have certainly given a
literal translation. Appeal to the Hebrew and you will find the word
ishah occurs hundreds of times in the Bible, and is translated "wife."
The word "ahotah", translated by King James' translators "a sister,"
occurs hundreds of times in the Bible, and is translated "sister." But
are these the only translations--the only renderings? Ishah, when it is
followed by ahot has another rendering. That is when "wife" is followed
by "sister" there is another rendering.

Translators have no right to give a double translation to the same
Hebrew word, in the same phrase; if they translate veishah one, they
are not at liberty to translate the same word in the same phrase over
again and call it wife. This Dr. Edwards, or some other monogamist, has
done, and inserted this false translation in the margin. What object
such translator had in deceiving the public must be best known to
himself: he probably was actuated by a zeal to find some law against
polygamy, and concluded to manufacture the word "wife," and place it
in the margin, without any original Hebrew word to represent it. Ahot,
when standing alone, is rendered sister; when preceded by ishah, is
rendered another; the suffix ah, attached to ahot, is translated "her;"
both together (ahot-ah) are rendered "her sister," that is sister's
sister; when ahot is rendered "another," its suffix ah represents "her"
or more properly the noun sister, for which it stands. The phrase will
then read: Veishah (one) el-ahotah (sister to another) lo (neither)
tikkah (shalt thou take) which, when transposed, reads thus: _Neither
shalt thou take one sister to another_. This form of translation agrees
with the rendering given to the same Hebrew words or phrase in the
seven other passages of Scripture, referred to by Dr. Newman and Dr.
Edwards. (See Exodus xxvi, 3, 5; Ezekiel i, 9, 11, 23; also iii, 13.)

It will be seen that the latter form of translation gives precisely
the same idea as that given by the English translators in the text. It
also agrees with the twelve preceding verses of the law, prohibiting
intermarriages among blood relations, and forms a part and parcel of
the same code; while the word "wife," inserted in the margin, is not,
and cannot, by any possible rule of interpretation, be extorted from
the original connection with the second form of translation.

Why should King James' literal translation "wife" and "sister" be
set aside for "one to another?" Because they saw a necessity for it.
There is this difference: in all the other seven passages where the
words Veishah el-ahotah occur, there is a noun in the nominative case
preceding them, denoting something to be coupled together. Exodus 26th
chapter, 3rd verse contains ishah el-ahotah twice, signifying to couple
together the curtains one to another, the same words being used that
are used in this text. Go to the fifth verse of the same chapter, and
there we have the loops of the curtains joined together one to another,
the noun in the nominative case being expressed. Next go to Ezekiel,
1st chapter, 9th, 11th and 23rd verses, and these three passages give
the rendering of these same words, coupling the wings of the cherubim
one to another. Then go again to the 3rd chapter of Ezekiel and 13th
verse, and the wings of the living creatures were joined together one
to another. But in the text under consideration no such noun in the
nominative case occurs; and hence the English translators concluded to
give each word its literal translation.

The law was given to prevent quarrels, which are apt to arise among
blood relations. We might look for quarrels on the other side between
women who were not related by blood; but what are the facts in relation
to quarrels between blood relations? Go back to Cain and Abel. Who was
it spilled the blood of Abel? It was a blood relation, his brother.
Who was it that cast Joseph into the pit to perish with hunger, and
afterwards dragged him forth from his den and sold him as a slave to
persons trading through the country? It was blood relations. Who slew
the seventy sons of Gideon upon one stone? It was one of their own
brothers that hired men to do it. Who was it that rebelled against
King David, and caused him with all his wives and household, excepting
ten concubines, to flee out of Jerusalem? It was his blood relation,
his own son Absalom. Who quarrelled in the family of Jacob? Did Bilhah
quarrel with Zilpah? No. Did Leah quarrel with Bilhah or Zilpah?
No such thing is recorded. Did Rachel quarrel with either of the
handmaidens? There is not a word concerning the matter. The little,
petty difficulties occurred between the two sisters, blood relations,
Rachel and Leah. And this law was probably given to prevent such
vexations between blood relations--between sister and sister.

Having effectually proved the marginal reading to be false, I will
now defy not only the learned gentleman, but all the world of Hebrew
scholars to find any word in the original to be translated "wife" if
ishah be first translated "one."

I am informed I have only fifteen minutes. I was not aware I had spoken
a quarter of the time. I shall have to leave this subject and proceed
to another.

The next subject to which I will call your attention is in regard to
the general or unlimited language of the laws given in the various
passages which I have quoted. If a man shall commit rape, if a man
shall entice a maid, if a man shall do this, or that, or the other, is
the language of these passages. Will any person pretend to say that a
married man is not a man? And if a married person is a man, it proves
that the law is applicable to married men, and if so it rests with my
learned friend to prove that it is limited. Moreover, the passage from
the margin in Leviticus was quoted by Dr. Newman as a great fundamental
law by which all the other passages were to be overturned. But it has
failed; and, therefore, the other passages quoted by me, stand good
unless something else can be found by the learned gentleman to support
his forlorn hope.

Perhaps we may hear quoted in the answer to my remarks the passage
that the future king of Israel was not to multiply wives to himself.
That was the law. The word multiply is construed by those opposed to
polygamy to mean that twice one make two, and hence that he was not
to multiply wives, or, in other words, that he was not to take two.
But the command was also given that the future king of Israel was not
to multiply horses anymore than wives. Twice one make two again. Was
the future king of Israel not to have more than one horse? The idea is
ridiculous! The future king of Israel was not to multiply them; not to
have them in multitude, that is, only to take such a number as God saw
proper to give him.

We might next refer you to the uncle of Ruth's dead husband, old Boaz,
who represented himself as not being the nearest kin. There was another
nearer who had the Divine right to take her, and this other happened
to be the brother of Boaz, perhaps a little older. Josephus tells us,
according to the learned gentleman, that this oldest brother was a
married man. Suppose we admit it. Did Boaz not know that his brother
was married when he represented him as the nearest of kin and had the
right before him? And even the brother acknowledges his right, and says
to Boaz: "Redeem thou my right to thyself." He had the right to marry
her. This, then, we arrive at by the assistance of Josephus; and it
proves that married men were required to comply with the law. I have
no further time to remark on this passage. I wish now to examine a
passage that is contained in Matthew, in regard to divorces, and also
in Malachi, on the same subject. Malachi, or the Lord by the mouth
of Malachi, informs the people that the Lord hated putting away. He
gave the reason why a wife should not be put away. Not a word against
polygamy in either passage.

But there is certain reasoning introduced to show that a wife should
not be put away. In the beginning the Lord made one, that is a wife
for Adam, that he might not be alone. Woman was given to man for a
companion, that he might protect her, and for other holy purposes, but
not to be put away for trivial causes; and it was cause of condemnation
in those days for a man to put away his wife. But there is not a word
in Malachi condemnatory of a man marrying more than one wife. Jesus
also gives the law respecting divorces, that they should not put away
their wives for any other cause than that of fornication; and he that
took a wife that was put away would commit adultery. Jesus says, in the
5th chapter, that he that putteth away his wife for any other cause
than fornication causes her to commit adultery. Then the husband is a
guilty accomplice, and if he puts away his wife unjustly he is guilty
of adultery himself, the same as a confederate in murder is himself
a murderer. As an adulterer he has no right to take another wife; he
has not the right to take even one wife. His right is to be stoned
to death; to suffer the penalty of death for his sin of adultery.
Consequently, if he has no right to even life itself, he has no right
to a wife. But the case of such a man, who has become an adulterer
by putting away his wife, and has no right to marry another, has no
application, nor has the argument drawn from it any application, to the
man who keeps his wife and takes another. The law referred to by my
learned opponent, in Leviticus xviii and 18, shows that polygamy was in
existence, but was to be kept within the circle of those who were not
blood relations.

Concerning the phrase "duty of marriage," occurring in the passage,
"If a man take another wife, her food, her raiment and her duty of
marriage shall he not diminish." The condition here referred to is
sometimes more than mere betrothal. It is something showing that the
individual has been not merely previously betrothed, but is actually
in the married state, and the duty of marriage is clearly expressed.
What is the meaning of the original word? It does not mean dwelling nor
refuge, as asserted in the New York Herald by Dr. Newman. Four passages
are quoted by him in which the Hebrew word for dwelling occurs, but the
word translated "duty" of marriage, is entirely a distinct word from
that used in the four passages referred to. Does not the learned Dr.
know the difference between two Hebrew words? Or what was his object
in referring to a word elsewhere in the Scripture that does not even
occur in the text under consideration? In a Hebrew and English Lexicon,
(published by Josiah W. Gibbs, A. M., Prof. of Sacred Liter., in the
Theology School in Yale College,) page 160, it refers to this very
Hebrew word and to the very passage, Ex. xxxi, 10, and translates it
thus:--"cohabitation,"--"duty of marriage." "Duty of marriage" then is
"cohabitation:" thus God commands a man who takes another wife, not to
diminish the duty of cohabitation with the first. Would God command
undiminished "cohabitation" with a woman merely betrothed and not

While I have a few moments left let me refer you to Hosea. I wish all
of you, when you go home, to read the second chapter of Hosea, and
you will find, with regard to Hosea's having divorced his first wife
because of her whoredoms, that no such thing is recorded as stated
by Mr. Newman yesterday. The Lord tells Hosea to go and speak to his
brethren, (not to his son,) to his sisters, (not his daughter,) of
the house of Israel, and tell them what the Lord will do; that he may
not acknowledge them any longer as a wife. Hosea bore the word of the
Lord to Israel, whom his own two wives represented, saying that their
whoredoms, their wickedness and idolatries had kindled the anger of the
Lord against them.

Having discussed the subject so far I leave it now with all candid
persons to judge. Here is the law of God; here is the command of the
Most High, general in its nature, not limited, nor can it be proved to
be so. There is no law against it, but it stands as immovable as the
Rock of Ages, and will stand when all things on the earth and the earth
itself shall pass away.

Dr. J. F. NEWMAN Said:

Respected Umpires, and Ladies and Gentlemen:

I had heard, prior to my coming to your city, that my distinguished
opponent was eminent in mathematics, and certainly his display to-day
confirms that reputation. Unfortunately, however, he is incorrect in
his statements. First, he assumes that the slaying of all the male
children of the Hebrews was continued through eighty years; but he has
failed to produce the proof. To do this was his starting point. He
assumes it; where is the proof, either in the Bible or in Josephus?
And until he can prove that the destruction of the male children went
on for eighty years, I say this argument has no more foundation than
a vision. Then he makes another blunder: the 303,550, the number of
men above twenty years of age, mentioned in this case, were men to go
to war; they were not the total population of the Jewish nation, and
yet my mathematical friend stands up here to-day and declares that the
whole male population above twenty years of age consisted of 303,550,
whereas it is a fact that this number did not include all the males.

Then again the 22,273 first-born do not represent the number of
families in Israel at that time, for many of the first-born were
dead. These are the blunders that the gentleman has made to-day, and
I challenge him to produce the contrary and prove that he is not
guilty of these numerical blunders. Then he denies the assertion made
yesterday that there could not be brought forward more than one or
two instances of polygamy in the history of Israel from the time the
Hebrews left Egypt to the time they entered Canaan. Has he disproved
that? He has attempted to prove it by a mathematical problem, which
problem is based on error: his premises are wrong, therefore his
conclusions are false. Why didn't he turn to King James' translation?
I will help him to one polygamist, that is Caleb. Why didn't he start
with old Caleb and go down and give us name after name and date after
date of the polygamists recorded in the history of the Jews while they
were in the wilderness? Ladies and gentlemen, he had none to give, and
therefore the assertion made yesterday is true, that during the sojourn
of the children of Israel in the wilderness there is but one instance
of polygamy recorded.

Now we come to the law that I laid down yesterday--"Neither shalt thou
take one wife to another." I reaffirm that the translation in the
margin is perfect to a word. He labors to show that God does not mean
what He says. That the phrase "one wife to another," may be equally
rendered one woman to another, or one wife to her sister. The very same
phrase is used in the other seven passages named by Dr. Dwight. For
example, Exodus xxvi, 3, Ezekiel i, 9, etc. He admits the translation
in these passages to be correct. If it is correct in these passages,
why is it not correct in the other? His very admission knocks to pieces
his argument. Why then does he labor to create the impression that the
Hebrew ishau means woman, or wife? What is the object of the travail of
his soul? The word ahoot, he contends, means sister; but sister itself,
is a word which means a specific relation, and a generic relation.
Every woman is sister to every other woman, and I challenge the
gentleman to meet me on paper at any time, in the newspapers of your
city or elsewhere upon the Hebrew of this text. I reaffirm it, reaffirm
it in the hearing of this learned gentleman, reaffirm it in the hearing
of these Hebraists, that as it is said in the margin, is the true
rendering, namely, "neither shalt thou take one wife to another." But
supposing that is incorrect, permit me, before I pass on, to remind you
of this fact, he refers, I think, in his first speech, to the "margin;"
the "margin" was correct then and there, but it is not here. It is a
poor rule that will not work both ways; correct when he wants to quote
from the "margin," but not when I want to do so. He quoted from the
margin, and I followed his illustrious example.

And now, my friends, supposing that the text means just what he says,
namely, "neither shalt thou take a wife unto her sister, to vex her;"
supposing that is the rendering, and he asserts it is, and he is a
Hebraist, I argued and brought the proof yesterday that this law of
Moses is not kept by the Mormons; in other words there are men in
your very midst who have married sisters. Where was the gentleman's
solemn denunciation of the violation of God's law? Why did he not lift
his voice and vindicate the Divine law? But not a solitary word of
disapproval is uttered! Yesterday he pronounced a curse--"cursed is
he that conforms not to the words of this law, to do them." Does not
the curse rest upon him and upon his people? I gave him the liberty to
choose whether this text condemned polygamy, or whether it condemned
a man for marrying two sisters; he must take his choice, the horns of
the dilemma are before him. For the sake of saving polygamy he stands
up here, in the presence of Almighty God and His holy angels, and
before this intelligent congregation he admits that in this church,
and with this people, God's holy law is set at defiance. What respect,
therefore, can we have for the gentleman's argument, drawn from the
teachings of Moses, in support of polygamy?

He refers us to the multiplication of horses. I suppose a king may have
one horse or two, there is no special rule; but there is a special rule
as to the number of wives. Neither shall the king multiply wives. God,
in the beginning, gave the first man one wife, and Christ and Paul
sustain that law as binding upon us. And now, supposing that that is
not accepted as a law, what then? Why there is no limit to the number
of wives, none at all. How many shall a man have? Seven, twenty, fifty,
sixty, a hundred? Why, they somewhere quote a passage that if a man
forsake his wife he shall have a hundred. Well, he ought to go on
forsaking; for if he will forsake a hundred he will have ten thousand;
and if he forsake ten thousand he will have so many more in proportion.
It is his business to go on forsaking. That is in the Professor's book
called the Seer. Such a man would keep the Almighty busy creating women
for him.

I regret very much that I have not time to notice all the points
which have been brought forward. I desired to do so. I plead for more
time; my friends plead for more time; but time was denied us, I am
therefore restricted to an hour. Now, I propose to follow out the
line of argument which I was pursuing yesterday when my time expired,
and I propose to carry out and apply the great law brought forward
yesterday--"Neither shall a man take one wife unto another;" and in
doing this we call your attention to the fact that in the Bible there
are only twenty-five or thirty specially recorded cases of polygamy,
all told, out of thousands and millions of people. I say twenty-five
or thirty specially recorded cases, which polygamists of our day
claim in support of their position. I propose to take up, say half a
dozen of the most prominent ones. I divide the period, before the law
and after the law. I take up Abraham. It is asserted that he was a
polygamist. I deny it. There is no proof that Abraham was guilty of
polygamy. What are the facts? When he was called of the Almighty to be
the founder of a great nation, a promise was given him that he should
have a numerous posterity. At that time he was a monogamist, had but
one wife--the noble Sarah. Six years passed and the promise was not
fulfilled. Then Sarah, desiring to help the Lord to keep His promise,
brought her Egyptian maid Hagar, and offered her as a substitute for
herself to Abraham. Mind you, Abraham did not go after Hagar, but
Sarah produced her as a substitute. Immediately after the act was
performed Sarah discovered her sin and said, "My wrong be upon thee."
"I have committed sin, but I did it for thy sake, and therefore the
wrong that I have committed is upon thee." Then look at the subsequent
facts: by the Divine command this Egyptian girl was sent away from the
abode of Abraham by the mutual consent of the husband and the wife;
by the Divine command, it is said that she was recognized as the wife
of Abraham, but I say you cannot prove it from the Bible; but it is
said that she was promised a numerous posterity. It was also foretold
that Ishmael should be a wild man--"his hand against every man and
every man's hand against him." Did that prediction justify Ishmael
in being a robber and a murderer? No, certainly not; neither did the
other prediction, that Hagar should have a numerous posterity, justify
the action of Abraham in taking her. After she had been sent away by
Divine command, God said unto Abraham--"now walk before me and be thou

These are the facts my friends. I know that some will refer you
to Keturah; but this is the fact in regard to her: Abraham lived
thirty-eight years after the death of Sarah; the energy miraculously
given to Abraham's body for the generation of Isaac was continued after
Sarah's death; but to suppose that he took Keturah during Sarah's
lifetime is to do violence to his moral character. But it is said
he sent away the sons of Keturah with presents during his lifetime,
therefore it must have been during the life time of Sarah. He lived
thirty-eight years after the death of Sarah, and he sent these sons
away eight years before his death, and they were from twenty-five to
thirty years old. Then this venerable Patriarch stands forth as a
monogamist and not as a polygamist.

Then we come to the case of Jacob. What are the facts in regard to him?
Brought up in the sanctity of monogamy, after having robbed his brother
of his birth-right, after having lied to his blind old father, he then
steals away and goes to Padan-aram and there falls in love with Rachel;
but in his bridal bed he finds Rachel's sister Leah. He did not enter
polygamy voluntarily but he was imposed upon. As he had taken advantage
of the blindness of his father and thereby imposed upon him, so also
was he imposed upon by Laban in the darkness of the night. But I hold
this to be true that Jacob is nowhere regarded as a saintly man prior
to his conversion at the brook Jabbok. After that he appears to us in a
saintly character. It is a remarkable fact that Jacob lived 147 years
all told, eighty-seven of which he lived before he became a polygamist.
He lived twenty-two years in polygamy, he lived forty years after
he had abandoned polygamy, so that out of 147 years there were only
twenty-two years during which he had any connection with polygamy.

I wish my friend had referred to the case of Moses. In his sermon
on celestial marriage he claims that Moses was a polygamist, and
he declares that the leprosy that was sent upon Miriam was for her
interference with the polygamous marriage of Moses. What are the facts?
There is no record of a second marriage. Zipporah is the only name
given as the wife of Moses. What, then, is the assertion made? Simply
this: It is recorded: and Moses was content to dwell with Jethro. He
gave Moses Zipporah, his daughter. Josephus speaks of Jethro having
two daughters, and distinctly says that he gave Moses one of them. In
Numbers xii and 1st, it is said:

 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian
 woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

Now it is affirmed that two women are here mentioned, whereas nothing
can be more untrue. Zipporah and the Ethiopian woman are one and
identical; it is one and the same person called by different names. Let
us see: The father of Zipporah was the priest of Midian; and according
to the best authorities Midian and Ethiopia are identical terms, and
apply to that portion of Arabia where Jethro lived. So the appellation
Midian, Ethiopia and Arabia are applied to the Arabian peninsula. See
Appleton's American Encyclopedia, volumes 6, 7 and 11. Then Moses, the
Jewish law-giver, stands forth as a monogamist, having but one wife.
Moses was not a polygamist. Surely the founder of a polygamist nation
and the revealer of a polygamist law, as this gentleman claims, should
have set an example, and should have had a dozen or a hundred wives.
This son of Jochebed; he was a monogamist, and stands forth as being a
reproof to polygamists in all generations.

Now we come to Gideon. And what about this man? An angel appeared to
him, that is true; but if the practice of polygamy by Gideon is a law
to us, then the practice of idolatry by Gideon is also a law to us. If
there is silence in the Bible touching the polygamy of Gideon, there
is also silence in the Bible touching his idolatry, and if one is
sanctioned so also is the other.

I wish my friend had brought up the case of Hannah, the wife of
Elkanah. I can prove to a demonstration that Hannah was the first wife
of Elkanah; but being barren Elkanah takes another wife. But Hannah, in
the anxiety of her heart, pleads to the Almighty, and God honored her
motherhood by answering her prayer. It is asked "Is not this a sanction
of polygamy?" Nay, a sanction of monogamy, because she was the first
wife of Elkanah, and because Elkanah had been guilty of infidelity and
married another wife, was that a reason why Hannah should not have her
rights from High Heaven, why God Almighty should not answer her prayer?
You ask me why did not she pray before. Can you tell me why Isaac did
not pray twenty years sooner for his wife, Rebecca, that she might have
children? I can not tell and you can not tell, all that I assert is
that Hannah was the first wife of Elkanah, and God honored and blessed
the beautiful Samuel.

Now we come to David. Why did not my friend bring up David, the great
warrior, king and poet, the ruler of Israel? He might have mentioned
him, with ten wives all told; he might also have mentioned him as the
adulterer, who committed one of the most premeditated, cold-blooded
murders on record, simply to cover up his crime of adultery. How often
do you hear quoted the words "and I gave thy master's wives into thy
bosom!"? Is this an approval of polygamy? If you will read on you
will find also that God also promises to give his (David's) wives to
another, and that another should lie with them in the sight of the
sun. Surely if one is an approval of polygamy the other is an approval
of rebellion and incest! David lived to be seventy-five years old. He
was twenty-seven years old when he took his first wife Michael, the
daughter of Saul. For the next forty years we find him complicated with
the evils, crimes and sorrows of polygamy; and the old man, seeing its
great sin, thoroughly repented of it and put it away from him, and for
the last eight years of his life endeavored to atone, as best he could,
for his troubled and guilty experience.

And what of Solomon? He is the greatest polygamist--the possessor of
a thousand wives! Had this gentleman told me that Solomon's greatness
was predicted, and therefore his polygamic birth was approved, and his
polygamic marriage also approbated, I can remind him of the fact that
the future greatness of Christ was foretold; but the foretelling of
the future greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ was not an approval of
the betrayal by Judas and the crucifixion by the Jews. Neither was the
mere foretelling of the future greatness of Solomon an approval of the
polygamic character of his birth.

I suppose the gentleman on this occasion would have referred to the
law of bastardy and have said, if my doctrine is true, then Solomon
and others were bastards. I could have wished that he had produced
that point. He did quote and declare in this temple, not long since,
in reference to the law touching bastardy, that a bastard should be
branded with infamy to the tenth generation. But it is plain that
he has misunderstood the law respecting bastards, as contained in
Deuteronomy xxiii and 2nd. It is known from history that the same
signification has not always been attached to this term. We say a
bastard is one born out of wedlock, that is monogamous matrimony. In
Athens, in the days of Pericles, five centuries before Christ, all were
declared bastards by law who were not the children of native Athenians.
And we here assert to-day that the gentleman can not bring forward a
law from the book of Jewish laws to prove that a child born of a Jew
and Jewess, whether married or not, was a bastard. The only child
recognized as a bastard by Jewish law is a child born of a Jew and a
Pagan woman; therefore the objection falls to the ground, and Solomon
and others, who were not to blame for the character of their birth, are

The geometrical progression of evil in this system of polygamy is seen
in the first three kings, Saul, David and Solomon. Saul had a wife and
a concubine--two women; David had ten women, Solomon had a thousand,
and it broke the kingdom asunder. God says it was for that very cause.
He had multiplied his wives to such an extent, that they had not only
led him astray from God into idolatry, but the very costliness of his
harem was a burden upon the people too heavy for them to bear. I said
the other day that polygamy might do for kings and priests and nabobs,
but could not do for poor men; it costs too much and the people are
taxed too much to support the harem.

Ah! you bring forward these few cases of polygamy! Name them if you
please. Lamech the murderer; Jacob, who deceived his blind old father,
and robbed his brother of his birthright; David, who seduced another
man's wife and murdered that man by putting him in front of the
battle, and old Solomon, who turned to be an idolater. These are some
polygamists! Now let me call the roll of honor: There were Adam, Enoch,
Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Joseph and Samuel and
all the prophets and apostles. You are accustomed to hear, from this
sacred place, that all the patriarchs and all the kings and all the
prophets were polygamists. I assert to the contrary, and these great
and eminent men whom I have just mentioned, belonging to the roll of
honor, were monogamists.

Yesterday the gentleman gave me three challenges; he challenged me to
show that the New Testament condemned polygamy. I now proceed to do it.
I quote Paul's words, 1st Corinthians, 7th chap., 2nd and 4th verses:

 Nevertheless to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife,
 and let every woman have her own husband.

 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband; and likewise
 also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Marriage is a remedy against fornication, and this is the subject of
the chapter. This is the opinion of Clark, Henry, Whitby, Langley and
others. One great evil prevailed at Corinth--a community of wives,
which the apostle here calls fornication. St. Paul strikes at the very
root of the evil and commands that every man have his own wife and that
every woman have her own husband: that is, let every man have his own
peculiar, proper and appropriate wife, and the wife her own proper,
peculiar and appropriate husband. In this there is mutual appropriation
and exclusiveness of right; and this command of Paul agrees with the
law of Moses in Leviticus xviii, 18: "Neither shalt thou take one wife
unto another," and the two are one statute, clear and unquestionable
for monogamy and against polygamy. The apostle teaches the reciprocal
duties of husband and wife, and the exclusive right of each. In verse
four it is distinctly affirmed that the husband has exclusive power
over the body of his wife, as the wife has exclusive power over the
body of her husband. It is universally admitted that this passage
proves the exclusive right of the husband to the wife, and by parity
it also proves the exclusive right of the wife to the husband. These
relations are mutual, and if the husband can claim a whole wife, the
wife can claim a whole husband. She has just as good a right to a whole
husband as he has a right to a whole wife. First Corinthians, 6th
chapter, 15th, 16th and 17th verses says:

 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then
 take the members of Christ and make them the members of an harlot? God

 What! know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body?
 for two (saith he) shall be one flesh.

 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

This passage is brought against the idea, but what are the facts? It
is objected that if one flesh is conclusively expressive of wedlock,
that St. Paul affirms that sexual commerce with a harlot is marriage.
For argument's sake I accept the assertion. The passage in question is:
"What! know ye not that he which is joined to a harlot is one body?"
"For two," says he, "shall be one flesh, but he which is joined to the
Lord is one spirit." Now look at the facts of the position, showing
the true relation of the believer to Christ. It is illustrated under
the figure of marriage. The design of this figure is to show that the
believer becomes one with Christ; and the apostle further explains, in
reproof of the Corinthians mingling with idolaters and adulterers, that
by this mingling they become assimilated and identical. He brings up an
illustration that if a man is married to a harlot, not simply joined,
but cohabit with or married to a harlot, he becomes identical with her;
in other words, one flesh.

There is a passage which declares that "a bishop must be blameless, the
husband of one wife." It is asserted that he must have one wife anyhow
and as many more as he pleases. It is supposed that this very caution
indicates the prevalence of polygamy in that day; but no proof can be
brought to bear that polygamy prevailed extensively at that time; on
the contrary I am prepared to prove that polygamists were not admitted
into the Christian Church, for Paul lays down the positive command:
"Let every man have his own wife and every woman have her own husband;"
so that if you say the former applies to the priest, and the latter,
applies to the layman, what is good for the priest is good for the
layman, and vice versa.

How often is it asserted here that monogamy has come from the Greeks
and Romans. But look at the palpable contradiction in the assertion. It
is asserted that monogamy came from those nations; it is also asserted
that polygamy was universal at the time of Christ and his apostles.
If monogamy came from the Greeks and Romans, then polygamy could not
have been universally prevalent, for it is admitted that at that time
the Romans held universal sway, and wherever they held sway their laws
prevailed, hence the two statements cannot be reconciled.

Now we come to the words of the Savior, Matthew v, 27 and 28; and xix,
8 and 9, and Mark x, and 11 and 12. At that time, when the Savior was
discoursing with the Pharisees, as recorded in Matthew xix, the Jews
were divided as to the interpretation of the law of Moses touching
divorce: "when a man hath taken a wife and married her, and it comes
to pass that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some
uncleanness in her, then let him write her a bill of divorcement." Upon
the meaning of the word uncleanness, the Jews differed: some agreed
with the school of Rabbi Hillel: that a man might dismiss his wife for
the slightest offence, or for no offence at all, if he found another
woman that pleased him better; but the school of Rabbi Shammai held
that the term uncleanness means moral delinquency. The Pharisees came
to Christ, hoping to involve him in this controversy; He declined, but
took advantage of the opportunity to give them a discourse on marriage,
and in doing so, he refers to the original institution, saying "have
ye not read that in the beginning God made them male and female?" Thus
He brings out the great law of monogamy. Grant that the allusion is
incidental, nevertheless, it is all-important as falling from the lips
of the Great Master.

I was challenged to show that polygamy is adultery. The gentleman
challenged me, and I will now proceed to prove it. As adultery is
distinguished in Scripture from whoredom and fornication, it is proper
to ascertain the exact meaning of the words as used by the sacred
writers. The word translated whoredom is from the Hebrew verb Zanah
and the Greek pornica, and means pollution, defilement, lewdness,
prostitution and, in common parlance, whoredom, the prostitution of the
body for gain. The word translated fornication is from the same Hebrew
verb, and in general, signifies criminal, sexual intercourse without
the formalities of marriage. Adultery is from the Hebrew word Naaph and
the Greek word Moicheia, and is the criminal intercourse of a married
woman with another man than her husband, or of a married man with
any other woman than his wife. This is indicated by the philological
significance of the term adulterate, compounded of two words meaning
to another, as the addition of pure and impure liquors, or of an alloy
with pure metal. Adulterer is from the Hebrew Naaph and the Greek
Moichos, which mean as above.

The material question to be settled is, Is the Hebrew word Naaph and
the Greek word Moichos or Moicheia confined to the criminal sexual
intercourse between a man, married or unmarried, with a married woman?
This is the theory of the Mormon polygamists; but I join issue with
them and assert that the Scriptures teach that adultery is committed by
a married man who has sexual intercourse with a woman other than his
wife, whether said woman is married or unmarried. It is conceded that
he is an adulterer who has carnal connection with a woman married or
betrothed. Thus far we agree.

Now can it be proved that the sin of adultery is committed by a
married man having carnal connection with a woman neither married nor
betrothed! To prove this point I argue:

First, that the Hebrew word Naaph, translated in the seventh
commandment, adultery, does include all criminal sexual intercourse.
It is a generic term and the whole includes the parts. It is like the
word kill in the sixth commandment, which includes all those passions
and emotions of the human soul which lead to murder, such as jealousy,
envy, malice, hatred, revenge. So this word Naaph includes whoredom,
fornication, adultery, and even salacial lust. Matthew v, 27, 29.

Second. The terms adultery and fornication are used interchangeably by
our Lord, and mean the same thing. A married woman copulating with a
man other than her husband is admitted to be adultery, but the highest
authority we can bring forward calls the act fornication. Matthew v, 3,
2. Romans vii, 2, 3. 1st Corinthians vii, 1, 4.

Third. The carnal connection of a man with an unmarried woman is
positively declared to be adultery in God's holy word. It is so
recorded in Job xxiv, from the 15th to the 21st verse; and in Isaiah
lvii and 3rd it is taught that the adulterer commits his sin with the
whore. Therefore I conclude that the term Naaph, as used in the seventh
commandment, comprehends all those modifications of that crime, down to
the salacial lust that a man may feel in his soul for a woman.

But it may be asked: If this is so, why then, does the Mosiac law
mention a married woman? We deny that such a distinction is made.
We do admit, however, that special penalties were pronounced on
such an action with a married woman, but for special reasons. What
were they? To preserve the genealogy, parentage and birth of Christ
from interruption and confusion, which were in imminent danger when
intercourse with a married woman was had by a man other than her
husband. And no such danger could arise from the intercourse with
a married man with an unmarried woman. That law was temporary, and
was abolished and passed away when Christ came. Under the Jewish
dispensation he that cohabited with a woman other than his wife was
responsible to God for the violation of the seventh commandment; the
woman was also responsible to God for the violation of the seventh
commandment and this special law. But here you say if this be true,
then some great men in Bible times were guilty of the violation of
the seventh commandment. I say they were; but they were not all
polygamists: that I have demonstrated to you to-day. But take the
facts: Abraham, when convinced of his sin, put away Hagar; Jacob lived
several years out of the state of polygamy; David put away all his
wives eight years before he died; and if there is no account that
Solomon put away his, neither is there the assurance that he abandoned
his idolatry.

This then, my friend, is the argument; and as a Christian minister,
desiring only your good, I proclaim the fact that polygamy is adultery.
I do it in all kindness, but I assert it as a doctrine taught in the

I am challenged again to prove that polygamy is no prevention of
prostitution. It has been affirmed time and time again, not only in
this discussion, but in the written works of these distinguished
gentlemen around me, that in monogamic countries prostitution, or
what is known as the social evil, is almost universally prevalent. I
perceive that I have not time to follow out this in arguments; but I
am prepared to prove, and I will prove it in your daily papers, that
prostitution is as old as authentic history; that prostitution has been
and is to-day more prevalent in polygamic countries than in monogamic
countries. I can prove that the figures representing prostitution in
monogamic countries are all overdrawn. They are overdrawn in regard to
my native city, that the gentleman brought up, New York, and of the
million and over of population he can not find six thousand recorded
prostitutes. I can go, for instance, to St. Louis, where they have just
taken the census of the prostitutes of that city, and with a population
of three hundred thousand, there are but 650 courtesans. You may go
through the length and breadth of this land, and in villages containing
from one thousand to ten thousand inhabitants, you cannot find a house
of prostitution. The truth is, my friends, they would not allow it for
a moment. Those men who assert that our monogamous country is full of
prostitutes put forth a slander upon our country.

Our distinguished friend referred to religious liberty, and claimed
that he had a right under the Federal Constitution to enjoy religious
liberty and to practise polygamy. I am proud as he is that we have
religious liberty here. I rejoice that a man can worship God after
his own heart; but I affirm that the law of limitation is no less
applicable to religious liberty than it is to the revolution of the
heavenly bodies. The law of limitation is as universal as creation, and
religious liberty must be practised within the bounds of decency, and
the wellbeing of society; and civil authority may extend or restrict
this religious liberty within due bounds. Why, the Hindoo mother may
come here with her Shasta--with her Bible--and she may throw her babe
into your river or lake, and the civil authorities, according to your
theory, could not interpose and say to that mother, "You shall not do
it." That is the theory. You say it is murder, I say it is not. I say
the act is stripped of the attributes of murder; it is a religious act.
She turns to her bible or Shasta, and says: "I am commanded to do this
by my bible." What will you do? You will turn away from the Shasta and
say, "The interests of society demand that you shall not murder that
child." So civil government has the right to legislate in regard to
marriage, and restrict the number of wives to one, according to God's
law. But I am not an advocate of stringent legislation. I agree with
my friend, that the law should not incarcerate men, women and children
in dungeons! No, my friends, if I can say a word to induce humane and
kind legislation toward the people of Utah I shall do it, and do it
most gladly. But I assert this principle, that civil government has the
right to limit religious liberty within due bounds.

There was another point that I desired to touch upon, and that is as
to the longevity of nations. We are told repeatedly here, in printed
works, that monogamic nations are short-lived, and that polygamic
nations are long-lived. I am prepared to go back to the days of Nimrod,
come down to the days of Ninus Sardanapalus, and down to the days of
Cyrus the Great, and all through those ancient polygamic nations, and
show that they were short-lived; while on the other hand I am prepared
to prove that Greece and Rome outlived the longest-lived polygamic
nations of the past. Greece, from the days of Homer down to the third
century of the Christian era; and Rome at from seven hundred and fifty
years before the coming of Christ down to the dissolution of the old
empire. But that old empire finds a resurrection in the Italians under
Victor Emanuel and Garibaldi; and England, Germany and France are all
proofs of the longevity of monogamic nations. Babylon is a ruin to-day,
and Babylon was polygamic. Egypt, to-day, is a ruin! Her massy piles
of ruin bespeak her former glory and her pristine beauty. And the last
edition of the polygamic nations--Turkey--is passing away. From the
Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, from the Danube, and the Jordan and the
Nile, the power of Mahommedanism is passing away before the advance of
the monogamic nations of the old world. Our own country is just in its
youth; but monogamic as it is, it is destined to live on, to outlive
the hoary past, to live on in its greatness, in its benificence, in its
power; to live on until it has demonstrated all those great problems
committed to our trust for human rights, religion, liberty and the
advancement of the race.

My friends, these are the arguments in favor of Monogamy; and when they
can be overthrown, then it will be time enough for us to receive the
system of Polygamy as it is taught here. But until that great law that
we have quoted can be proved to be not a law: until it can be proved
that there is no distinction between law and practice; until it can be
proved that there is a positive command for polygamy; until it can be
proved that Christ did not refer to the original marriage; until it
can be proved that Paul does not demand that every man shall have his
own wife and every woman her own husband; until it can be proved that
polygamy is a prevention of prostitution; until it can be proved that
monogamic nations are not as long-lived as polygamous nations; until
it can be proved that monogamy is not in harmony with civil liberty;
until all these points can be demonstrated beyond a doubt; until then,
we can't give up this grand idea that God's law condemns polygamy,
and that God's law commends monogamy; that the highest interests of
man, that the dearest interests of the rising generation, that all
that binds us to earth and points us to heaven are not subserved and
promoted under the monogamic system. All these great interests demand
the practice of monogamy in marriage--one man and one wife. Then indeed
shall be realized the picture portrayed in Scripture of the happy
family--the family where the wife is one and the husband one, and the
two are equivalent; then, when father and mother, centered in the
family, shall bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of
the Lord--when the husband provides for his family--and it is said that
the man who does not is worse than an infidel--then indeed monogamy
stands forth as a grand Bible doctrine.








It was announced at the close of the forenoon meeting that I would
address the congregation this afternoon upon the subject of Celestial
Marriage; I do so with the greatest pleasure.

In the first place, let us enquire whether it is lawful and right,
according to the Constitution of our country, to examine and practise
this Bible doctrine? Our fathers, who framed the Constitution of our
country, devised it so as to give freedom of religious worship of the
Almighty God; so that all people under our Government should have the
inalienable right--a right by virtue of the Constitution--to believe in
any Bible principle which the Almighty has revealed in any age of the
world to the human family. I do not think however that our forefathers,
in framing that instrument, intended to embrace all the religions
of the world. I mean the idolatrous and pagan religions. They say
nothing about those religions in the Constitution; but they give the
express privilege in that instrument to all people dwelling under this
Government and under the institutions of our country, to believe in all
things which the Almighty has revealed to the human family. There is no
restriction or limitation, so far as Bible religion is concerned, on
any principle or form of religion believed to have emanated from the
Almighty; but yet they would not admit idolatrous nations to come here
and practise their religion, because it is not included in the Bible;
it is not the religion of the Almighty. Those people worship idols, the
work of their own hands; they have instituted rights and ceremonies
pertaining to those idols, in the observance of which they, no doubt,
suppose they are worshipping correctly and sincerely, yet some of them
are of the most revolting and barbarous character. Such, for instance,
as the offering up of a widow on a funeral pile, as a burnt sacrifice,
in order to follow her husband into the eternal worlds. That is no part
of the religion mentioned in the Constitution of our country, it is no
part of the religion of Almighty God.

But confining ourselves within the limits of the Constitution, and
coming back to the religion of the Bible, we have the privilege to
believe in the Patriarchal, in the Mosaic, or in the Christian order of
things; for the God of the patriarchs, and the God of Moses is also the
Christians' God.

It is true that many laws were given, under the Patriarchal or Mosaic
dispensations, against certain crimes, the penalties for violating
which, religious bodies, under our Constitution, have not the right to
inflict. The Government has reserved, in its own hands, the power, so
far as affixing the penalties of certain crimes is concerned.

In ancient times there was a law strictly enforcing the observance
of the Sabbath day, and the man or woman who violated that law was
subjected to the punishment of death. Ecclesiastical bodies have the
right, under our government and Constitution, to observe the Sabbath
day, or to disregard it, but they have not the right to inflict
corporeal punishment for its non-observance.

The subject proposed to be investigated this afternoon is that of
Celestial Marriage, as believed in by the Latter-day Saints, and which
they claim is strictly a Bible doctrine and part of the revealed
religion of the Almighty. It is well known by all the Latter-day Saints
that we have not derived all our knowledge concerning God, heaven,
angels, this life and the life to come, entirely from the books of the
Bible; yet we believe that all of our religious principles and notions
are in accordance with and are sustained by the Bible; consequently,
though we believe in new revelation, and believe that God has revealed
many things pertaining to our religion, we also believe that He has
revealed none that are inconsistent with the worship of Almighty
God, a sacred right guaranteed to all religious denominations by the
Constitution of our country.

God created man, male and female. He is the author of our existence.
He placed us on this creation. He ordained laws to govern us. He gave
to man, whom he created, a help-meet--a woman, a wife to be one with
him, to be a joy and a comfort to him; and also for another very great
and wise purpose--namely, that the human species might be propagated
on this creation, that the earth might teem with population according
to the decree of God before the foundation of the world; that the
intelligent spirits whom He had formed and created, before this world
was rolled into existence, might have their probation, might have an
existence in fleshly bodies on this planet, and be governed by laws
emanating from their Great Creator. In the breast of male and female
he established certain qualities and attributes that never will be
eradicated--namely love towards each other. Love comes from God. The
love which man possesses for the opposite sex came from God. The same
God who created the two sexes implanted in the hearts of each love
towards the other. What was the object of placing this passion or
affection within the hearts of male and female? It was in order to
carry out, so far as this world was concerned, His great and eternal
purposes pertaining to the future. But He not only did establish this
principle in the heart of man and woman, but gave divine laws to
regulate them in relation to this passion or affection, that they might
be limited and prescribed in the exercise of it towards each other.
He therefore ordained the Marriage Institution. The marriage that was
instituted in the first place was between two immortal beings, hence it
was marriage for eternity in the very first case which we have recorded
for an example. Marriage for eternity was the order God instituted on
our globe; as early as the Garden of Eden, as early as the day when
our first parents were placed in the garden to keep it and till it,
they, as two immortal beings, were united in the bonds of the New and
Everlasting Covenant. This was before man fell, before the forbidden
fruit was eaten, and before the penalty of death was pronounced upon
the heads of our first parents and all their posterity, hence, when God
gave to Adam his wife Eve, He gave her to him as an immortal wife, and
there was no end contemplated of the relation they held to each other
as husband and wife.

By and bye, after this marriage had taken place, they transgressed the
law of God, and by reason of that transgression the penalty of death
came, not only upon them, but also upon all their posterity. Death,
in its operations, tore asunder, as it were, these two beings who had
hitherto been immortal, and if God had not, before the foundation of
the world, provided a plan of redemption, they would perhaps have been
torn asunder forever; but inasmuch as a plan of redemption had been
provided, by which man could be rescued from the effects of the Fall,
Adam and Eve were restored to that condition of union, in respect to
immortality, from which they had been separated for a short season of
time by death. The Atonement reached after them and brought forth their
bodies from the dust, and restored them as husband and wife, to all the
privileges that were pronounced upon them before the Fall.

That was eternal marriage; that was lawful marriage ordained by God.
That was the divine institution which was revealed and practised in
the early period of our globe. How has it been since that day? Mankind
have strayed from that order of things, or, at least, they have done
so in latter times. We hear nothing among the religious societies of
the world which profess to believe in the Bible about this marriage for
eternity. It is among the things which are obsolete. Now all marriages
are consummated until death only; they do not believe in that great
pattern and prototype established in the beginning; hence we never hear
of their official characters, whether civil or religious, uniting men
and women in the capacity of husband and wife as immortal beings. No,
they marry as mortal beings only, and until death does them part.

What is to become of them after death? What will take place among all
those nations who have been marrying for centuries for time only? Do
both men and women receive a resurrection? Do they come forth with all
the various affections, attributes and passions that God gave them in
the beginning? Does the male come forth from the grave with all the
attributes of a man? Does the female come forth from her grave with
all the attributes of a woman? If so, what is their future destiny?
Is there no object or purpose in this new creation save to give them
life, a state of existence? or is there a more important object in view
in the mind of God, in thus creating them anew? Will that principle
of love which exists now, and which has existed from the beginning,
exist after the resurrection? I mean this sexual love. If that existed
before the Fall, and if it has existed since then, will it exist in
the eternal worlds after the resurrection? This is a very important
question to be decided.

We read in the revelations of God that there are various classes of
beings in the eternal worlds. There are some who are kings, priests,
and Gods, others that are angels; and also among them are the orders
denominated celestial, terrestrial, and telestial. God, however,
according to the faith of the Latter-day Saints, has ordained that
the highest order and class of beings that should exist in the
eternal worlds should exist in the capacity of husbands and wives,
and that they alone should have the privilege of propagating their
species--intelligent, immortal beings. Now it is wise, no doubt, in
the Great Creator to thus limit this great and Heavenly principle to
those who have arrived or come to the highest state of exaltation,
excellency, wisdom, knowledge, power, glory and faithfulness, to dwell
in his presence, that they by this means shall be prepared to bring up
their spirit offspring in all pure and holy principles in the eternal
worlds, in order that they may be made happy. Consequently he does not
entrust this privilege of multiplying spirits with the terrestrial
or telestial, or the lower order of beings there, nor with angels.
But why not? Because they have not proved themselves worthy of this
great privilege. We might reason, of the eternal worlds, as some of
the enemies of polygamy reason of this state of existence, and say
that there are just as many males as females there, some celestial,
some terrestrial and some telestial; and why not have all these paired
off, two by two? Because God administers His gifts and His blessings
to those who are most faithful, giving them more bountifully to the
faithful, and taking away from the unfaithful that with which they had
been entrusted, and which they had not improved upon. That is the order
of God in the eternal worlds, and if such an order exist there, it may
in a degree exist here.

When the sons and daughters of the Most High God come forth in the
morning of the resurrection, this principle of love will exist in
their bosoms just as it exists here, only intensified according to the
increased knowledge and understanding which they possess; hence they
will be capacitated to enjoy the relationships of husband and wife, of
parents and children a hundred fold degree greater than they could in
mortality. We are not capable, while surrounded with the weaknesses
of our flesh, to enjoy these eternal principles in the same degree
that will then exist. Shall these principles of conjugal and parental
love and affection be thwarted in the eternal worlds? Shall they be
rooted out and overcome? No, most decidedly not. According to the
religious notions of the world these principles will not exist after
the resurrection; but our religion teaches the fallacy of such notions.
It is true that we read in the New Testament that in the resurrection
they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels
in heaven. These are the words of our Savior when He was addressing
himself to a very wicked class of people, the Sadducees, a portion of
the Jewish nation, who rejected Jesus, and the counsel of God against
their own souls. They had not attained to the blessings and privileges
of their fathers, but had apostatized; and Jesus, in speaking to them,
says that in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in
marriage but are as the angels of God.

I am talking, to-day, to Latter-day Saints; I am not reasoning with
unbelievers. If I were, I should appeal more fully to the Old Testament
Scriptures to bring in arguments and testimonies to prove the divine
authenticity of polygamic marriages. Perhaps I may touch upon this for
a few moments, for the benefit of strangers, should there be any in our
midst. Let me say, then, that God's people, under every dispensation
since the creation of the world, have, generally, been polygamists.
I say this for the benefit of strangers. According to the good old
book, called the Bible, when God saw proper to call out Abraham from
all the heathen nations, and made him a great man in the world, He saw
proper, also, to make him a polygamist, and approbated him in taking
unto himself more wives than one. Was it wrong in Abraham to do this
thing? If it were, when did God reprove him for so doing? When did He
ever reproach Jacob for doing the same thing? Who can find the record
in the lids of the Bible of God reproving Abraham, as being a sinner,
and having committed a crime, in taking to himself two living wives?
No such thing is recorded. He was just as much blessed after doing
this thing as before, and more so, for God promised blessings upon the
issue of Abraham by his second wife the same as that of the first wife,
providing he was equally faithful. This was a proviso in every case.

When we come down to Jacob, the Lord permitted him to take four wives.
They are so called in holy writ. They are not denominated prostitutes,
neither are they called concubines, but they are called wives, legal
wives; and to show that God approved of the course of Jacob in taking
these wives, He blessed them abundantly, and hearkened to the prayer of
the second wife just the same as to the first. Rachel was the second
wife of Jacob, and our great mother, for you know that many of the
Latter-day Saints by revelation know themselves to be the descendants
of Joseph, and he was the son of Rachel, the second wife of Jacob.
God in a peculiar manner blessed the posterity of this second wife.
Instead of condemning the old patriarch, He ordained that Joseph, the
first-born of this second wife, should be considered the first-born
of all the twelve tribes, and into his hands was given the double
birthright, according to the laws of the ancients. And yet he was
the offspring of plurality--of the second wife of Jacob. Of course,
if Reuben, who was indeed, the first-born unto Jacob, had conducted
himself properly, he might have retained the birthright and the greater
inheritance; but he lost that through his transgression, and it was
given to a polygamic child, who had the privilege of inheriting the
blessing to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills; the great
continent of North and South America was conferred upon him. Another
proof that God did not disapprove of a man having more wives than one,
is to be found in the fact that, Rachel, after she had been a long time
barren, prayed to the Lord to give her seed. The Lord hearkened to her
cry and granted her prayer; and when she received seed from the Lord by
her polygamic husband, she exclaimed--"the Lord hath hearkened unto me
and hath answered my prayer." Now do you think the Lord would have done
this if He had considered polygamy a crime? Would He have hearkened to
the prayer of this woman if Jacob had been living with her in adultery?
and he certainly was doing so if the ideas of this generation are

Again, what says the Lord in the days of Moses, under another
dispensation? We have seen that in the days of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob, He approved of polygamy and blessed His servants who practised
it, and also their wives and children. Now, let us come down to the
days of Moses. We read that, on a certain occasion, the sister of
Moses, Miriam, and certain others in the great congregation of Israel,
got very jealous. What were they jealous about? About the Ethiopian
woman that Moses had taken to wife, in addition to the daughter of
Jethro, whom he had taken before in the land of Midian. How dare the
great law-giver, after having committed, according to the ideas of the
present generation, a great crime, show his face on Mount Sinai when it
was clothed with the glory of the God of Israel? But what did the Lord
do in the case of Miriam, for finding fault with her brother Moses?
Instead of saying "you are right, Miriam, he has committed a great
crime, and no matter how much you speak against him," He smote her with
a leprosy the very moment she began to complain, and she was considered
unclean for a certain number of days. Here the Lord manifested, by the
display of a signal judgment, that He disapproved of any one speaking
against His servants for taking more wives than one, because it may not
happen to suit their notion of things.

I make these remarks and wish to apply them to fault-finders against
plural marriages in our day. Are there any Miriams in our congregation
to-day, any of those who, professing to belong to the Israel of
the latter-days, sometimes find fault with the man of God standing
at their head, because he, not only believes in but practises this
divine institution of the ancients? If there be such in our midst, I
say, remember Miriam the very next time you begin to talk with your
neighboring women, or any body else against this holy principle.
Remember the awful curse and judgment that fell on the sister of Moses
when she did the same thing, and then fear and tremble before God, lest
He, in his wrath, may swear that you shall not enjoy the blessings
ordained for those who inherit the highest degree of glory.

Let us pass along to another instance under the dispensation of Moses.
The Lord says, on a certain occasion, if a man have married two wives,
and he should happen to hate one and love the other, is he to be
punished--cast out and stoned to death as an adulterer? No; instead of
the Lord denouncing him as an adulterer because of having two wives, He
gave a commandment regulating the matter so that this principle of hate
in the mind of the man towards one of his wives should not control him
in the important question of the division of his inheritance among his
children, compelling him to give just as much to the son of the hated
wife as to the son of the one beloved; and, if the son of the hated
woman happened to be the first-born, he should actually inherit the
double portion.

Consequently, the Lord approved, not only the two wives, but their
posterity also. Now, if the women had not been considered wives by
the Lord, their children would have been bastards, and you know that
He has said that bastards shall not enter into the congregation of
the Lord, until the tenth generation, hence you see there is a great
distinction between those whom the Lord calls legitimate or legal, and
those who were bastards--begotten in adultery and whoredom. The latter,
with their posterity, were shut out of the congregation of the Lord
until the tenth generation, while the former were exalted to all the
privileges of legitimate birthright.

Again, under that same law and dispensation, we find that the Lord
provided for another contingency among the hosts of Israel. In order
that the inheritances of the families of Israel might not run into
the hands of strangers, the Lord, in the book of Deuteronomy, gives a
command that if a man die, leaving a wife, but no issue, his brother
shall marry his widow and take possession of the inheritance; and to
prevent this inheritance going out of the family a strict command
was given that the widow should marry the brother or nearest living
kinsman of her deceased husband. The law was in full force at the time
of the introduction of Christianity--a great many centuries after
it was given. The reasoning of the Sadducees on one occasion when
conversing with Jesus proves that the law was then observed. Said
they: "There were seven brethren who all took a certain woman, each
one taking her in succession after the death of the other," and they
inquired of Jesus which of the seven would have her for a wife in the
resurrection. The Sadducees, no doubt, used this figure to prove, as
they thought, the fallacy of the doctrine of the resurrection, but it
also proves that this law, given by the Creator while Israel walked
acceptably before Him, was acknowledged by their wicked descendants
in the days of the Savior. I merely quote the passage to show that
the law was not considered obsolete at that time. A case like this,
when six of the brethren had died, leaving the widow without issue,
the seventh, whether married or unmarried, must fulfill this law
and take the widow to wife, or lay himself liable to a very severe
penalty. What was that penalty? According to the testimony of the law
of Moses he would be cursed, for Moses says--"cursed be he that doth
not all things according as it is written in this book of the law, and
let all the people say Amen." There can be no doubt that many men in
those days were compelled to be polygamists in the fulfillment of this
law, for any man who would not take the childless wife of a deceased
brother and marry her, would come under tho tremendous curse recorded
in the book of Deuteronomy, and all the people would be obliged to
sanction the curse, because he would not obey the law of God and
become a polygamist. They were not all congressmen in those days, nor
Presidents, nor Presbyterians, nor Methodists, nor Roman Catholics; but
they were the people of God, governed by divine law, and were commanded
to be polygamists; not merely suffered to be so, but actually commanded
to be.

There are some Latter-day Saints who, perhaps, have not searched these
things as they ought, hence we occasionally find some who will say that
God suffered these things to be. I will go further, and say that He
commanded them, and He pronounced a curse, to which all the people had
to say amen, if they did not fulfill the commandment.

Coming down to the days of the prophets we find that they were
polygamists; also to the days of the kings of Israel, whom God
appointed Himself, and approbated and blessed. This was especially the
case with one of them, named David, who, the Lord said, was a man after
His own heart. David was called when yet a youth, to reign over the
whole twelve tribes of Israel; But Saul, the reigning king of Israel,
persecuted him, and sought to take away his life. David fled from city
to city throughout all the coasts of Judea in order to get beyond the
reach of the relentless persecutions of Saul. While thus fleeing, the
Lord was with him, hearing his prayers, answering his petitions, giving
him line upon line, precept upon precept; permitting him to look into
the Urim and Thummin and receive revelations, which enabled him to
escape from his enemies.

In addition to all these blessing that God bestowed upon him in his
youth, before he was exalted to the throne, He gave him eight wives;
and after exalting him to the throne, instead of denouncing him for
having many wives, and pronouncing him worthy of fourteen or twenty-one
years of imprisonment, the Lord was with His servant David, and,
thinking he had not wives enough, He gave to him all the wives of his
master Saul, in addition to the eight He had previously given him. Was
the Lord to be considered a criminal, and worthy of being tried in a
court of justice and sent to prison for thus increasing the polygamic
relations of David? No, certainly not; it was in accordance with his
own righteous laws, and He was with His servant, David the king, and
blessed him. By and by, when David transgressed, not in taking other
wives, but in taking the wife of another man, the anger of the Lord
was kindled against him and He chastened him and took away all the
blessings He had given him. All the wives David had received from
the hand of God were taken from him. Why? Because he had committed
adultery. Here then is a great distinction between adultery and
plurality of wives. One brings honor and blessing to those who engage
in it, the other degradation and death.

After David had repented with all his heart of his crime with the wife
of Uriah, he, notwithstanding the number of wives he had previously
taken, took Bathsheba legally, and by that legal marriage Solomon was
born; the child born of her unto David, begotten illegally, being a
bastard, displeased the Lord and He struck it with death; but with
Solomon, a legal issue from the same woman, the Lord was so pleased
that he ordained Solomon and set him on the throne of his father David.
This shows the difference between the two classes of posterity, the one
begotten illegally, the other in the order of marriage. If Solomon had
been a bastard, as this pious generation would have us suppose, instead
of being blessed of the Lord and raised to the throne of his father,
he would have been banished from the congregation of Israel and his
seed after him for ten generations. But, notwithstanding that he was
so highly blessed and honored of the Lord, there was room for him to
transgress and fall, and in the end he did so. For a long time the Lord
blessed Solomon, but eventually he violated that law which the Lord had
given forbidding Israel to take wives from the idolatrous nations, and
some of these wives succeeded in turning his heart from the Lord and
induced him to worship the heathen gods, and the Lord was angry with
him and, as it is recorded in the Book of Mormon, considered the acts
of Solomon an abomination in His sight.

Let us now come to the record in the Book of Mormon, when the Lord led
forth Lehi and Nephi, and Ishmael and his two sons and five daughters
out of the land of Jerusalem to the land of America. The males and
females were about equal in number: there were Nephi, Sam, Laman and
Lemuel, the four sons of Lehi, and Zoram, brought out of Jerusalem.
How many daughters of Ishmael were unmarried? Just five. Would if
have been just under these circumstances, to ordain plurality among
them? No. Why? Because the males and females were equal in number and
they were all under the guidance of the Almighty, hence it would have
been unjust, and the Lord gave a revelation--the only one on record I
believe--in which a command was ever given to any branch of Israel to
be confined to the monogamic system. In this case the Lord, through His
servant Lehi, gave a command that they should have but one wife. The
Lord had a perfect right to vary His commands in this respect according
to circumstances, as He did in others, as recorded in the Bible. There
we find that the domestic relations were governed according to the mind
and will of God, and were varied according to circumstances, as He
thought proper.

By and by, after the death of Lehi, some of his posterity began to
disregard the strict law that God had given to their father, and took
more wives than one, and the Lord put them in mind, through His servant
Jacob, one of the sons of Lehi, of this law, and told them that they
were transgressing it, and then referred to David and Solomon, as
having committed abomination in his sight. The Bible also tells us that
they sinned in the sight of God; not in taking wives legally but only
in those they took illegally, in doing which they brought wrath and
condemnation upon their heads.

But because the Lord dealt thus with the small branch of the House of
Israel that came to America, under their peculiar circumstances, there
are those at the present day who will appeal to this passage in the
Book of Mormon as something universally applicable in regard to man's
domestic relations. The same God that commanded one branch of the
House of Israel in America, to take but one wife when the numbers of
the two sexes were about equal, gave a different command to the hosts
of Israel in Palestine. But let us see the qualifying clause given in
the Book of Mormon on this subject. After having reminded the people
of the commandment delivered by Lehi, in regard to monogamy, the Lord
says--"For if I will raise up seed unto me I will command my people,
otherwise they shall hearken unto these things;" that is, if I will
raise up seed among my people of the House of Israel, according to
the law that exists among the tribes of Israel, I will give them a
commandment on the subject, but if I do not give this commandment they
shall hearken to the law which I give unto their father Lehi. That is
the meaning of the passage, and this very passage goes to prove that
plurality was a principle God did approve under circumstances when it
was authorized by Him.

In the early rise of this church, February, 1831, God gave a
commandment to its members, recorded in the Book of Covenants, wherein
He says--"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave
unto her and to none else;" and then He gives a strict law against
adultery. This you have, no doubt, all read; but let me ask whether
the Lord had the privilege and the right to vary from this law. It was
given in 1831, when the one-wife system alone prevailed among this
people. I will tell you what the Prophet Joseph said in relation to
this matter in 1831, also in 1832, the year in which the law commanding
the members of this church to cleave to one wife only was given. Joseph
was then living in Portage County, in the town of Hyrum, at the house
of Father John Johnson. Joseph was very intimate with that family, and
they were good people at that time, and enjoyed much of the spirit of
the Lord. In the fore part of the year 1832, Joseph told individuals,
then in the Church, that he, had enquired of the Lord concerning the
principle of plurality of wives, and he received for answer that the
principle of taking more wives than one is a true principle, but the
time had not yet come for it to be practised. That was before the
Church was two years old. The Lord has His own time to do all things
pertaining to His purposes in the last dispensation. His own time for
restoring all things that have been predicted by the ancient prophets.
If they have predicted that the day would come when seven women would
take hold of one man saying--"We will eat our own bread and wear
our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name to take away our
reproach;" and that, in that day the branch of the Lord should be
beautiful and glorious and the fruits of the earth should be excellent
and comely, the Lord has the right to say when that time shall be.

Now, supposing the members of this Church had undertaken to vary from
that law given in 1831, to love their one wife with all their hearts
and to cleave to none other, they would have come under the curse
and condemnation of God's holy law. Some twelve years after that
time the revelation on Celestial Marriage was revealed. This is just
republished at the Deseret News office, in a pamphlet entitled "Answers
to Questions," by President George A. Smith, and heretofore has been
published in pamphlet form and in the Millennial Star, and sent
throughout the length and breadth of our country, being included in our
works and published in the works of our enemies. Then came the Lord's
time for this holy and ennobling principle to be practised again among
His people.

We have not time to read the revelation this afternoon; suffice it to
say that God revealed the principle through His servant Joseph in 1843.
It was known by many individuals while the Church was yet in Illinois;
and though it was not then printed, it was a familiar thing through all
the streets of Nauvoo, and indeed throughout all Hancock county. Did I
hear about it? I verily did. Did my brethren of the Twelve know about
it? They certainly did. Were there any females who knew about it? There
certainly were, for some received the revelation and entered into the
practice of the principle. Some may say, "Why was it not printed, and
made known to the people generally, if it was of such importance?" I
reply by asking another question: Why did not the revelations in the
book of Doctrine and Covenants come to us in print years before they
did? Why were they shut up in Joseph's cupboard years and years without
being suffered to be printed and sent broadcast throughout the land?
Because the Lord had again His own time to accomplish His purposes, and
He suffered the revelations to be printed just when He saw proper. He
did not suffer the revelation on the great American war to be published
until sometime after it was given. So in regard to the revelation
on plurality, it was only a short time after Joseph's death that we
published it, having a copy thereof. But what became of the original?
An apostate destroyed it; you have heard her name. That same woman,
in destroying the original, thought she had destroyed the revelation
from the face of the earth. She was embittered against Joseph, her
husband, and at times fought against him with all her heart: and then
again she would break down in her feelings, and humble herself before
God and call upon His holy name, and would then lead forth ladies and
place their hands in the hands of Joseph, and they were married to
him according to the law of God. That same woman has brought up her
children to believe that no such thing as plurality of wives existed
in the days of Joseph, and has instilled the bitterest principles of
apostasy into their minds, to fight against the Church that has come to
these mountains according to the predictions of Joseph.

In the year 1844, before his death, a large company was organized
to come and search out a location, west of the Rocky Mountains. We
have been fulfilling and carrying out his predictions in coming here
and since our arrival. The course pursued by this woman shows what
apostates can do, and how wicked they can become in their hearts. When
they apostatize from the truth they can come out and swear before
God and the heavens that such and such things never existed, when
they know, as well as they know they exist themselves, that they are
swearing falsely. Why do they do this? Because they have no fear of
God before their eyes; because they have apostatized from the truth;
because they have taken it upon themselves to destroy the revelations
of the Most High, and to banish them from the face of the earth, and
the Spirit of God withdraws from them. We have come here to these
mountains, and have continued to practise the principle of Celestial
Marriage from the day the revelation was given until the present time;
and we are a polygamic people, and a great people, comparatively
speaking, considering the difficult circumstances under which we came
to this land.

Let us speak for a few moments upon another point connected with this
subject--that is, the reason why God has established polygamy under
the present circumstances among this people. If all the inhabitants of
the earth, at the present time, were righteous before God, and both
males and females were faithful in keeping His commandments, and the
numbers of the sexes of a marriageable age were exactly equal, there
would be no necessity for any such institution. Every righteous man
could have his wife and there would be no overplus of females. But what
are the facts in relation to this matter? Since old Pagan Rome and
Greece--worshippers of idols--passed a law confining a man to one wife,
there has been a great surplus of females, who have had no possible
chance of getting married. You may think this a strange statement, but
it is a fact that those nations were the founders of what is termed
monogamy. All other nations, with few exceptions, had followed the
scriptural plan of having more wives than one. These nations, however,
were very powerful, and when Christianity came to them, especially the
Roman nation, it had to bow to their mandates and customs, hence the
Christians gradually adopted the monogamic system. The consequence
was that a great many marriageable ladies of those days, and of all
generations from that time to the present have not had the privilege
of husbands, as the one-wife system has been established by law among
the nations descended from the great Roman Empire--namely the nations
of modern Europe and the American States. This law of monogamy, or
the monogamic system, laid the foundation for prostitution and evils
and diseases of the most revolting nature and character, under which
modern Christendom groans, for as God has implanted, for a wise
purpose, certain feelings in the breasts of females as well as males,
the gratification of which is necessary to health and happiness, and
which can only be accomplished legitimately in the married state,
myriads of those who have been deprived of the privilege of entering
that state, rather than be deprived of the gratification of those
feelings altogether, have, in despair, given way to wickedness and
licentiousness; hence the whoredoms and prostitution among the nations
of the earth where the "Mother of Harlots" has her seat.

When the religious Reformers came out, some two or three centuries ago,
they neglected to reform the marriage system--a subject demanding their
urgent attention. But leaving these Reformers and their doings, let us
come down to our own times and see whether, as has been often said by
many, the numbers of the sexes are equal; and let us take as a basis
for our investigations on this part of our subject, the censuses taken
by several of the States in the American Union.

Many will tell us that the number of males and the number of females
born are just about equal, and because they are so it is not reasonable
to suppose that God ever intended the nations to practise plurality
of wives. Let me say a few words on that. Supposing we should admit,
for the sake of argument, that the sexes are born in equal numbers,
does that prove that the same equality exists when they come to a
marriageable age? By no means. There may be about equal numbers
born, but what do the statistics of our country show in regard to
the deaths? Do as many females as males die during the first year
of their existence? If you go to the published statistics you will
find, almost without exception, that in every State a greater number
of males die the first year of their existence than females. The
same holds good from one year to five years, from five years to ten,
from ten to fifteen, and from fifteen to twenty. This shows that the
number of females is greatly in excess of the males when they reach
a marriageable age. Let us elucidate still further, in proof of the
position here assumed. Let us take, for instance, the census of the
State of Pennsylvania in the year 1860, and we shall find that there
were 17,588 more females than males between the age of twenty and
thirty years, which may strictly be termed a marriageable age. Says
one, "Probably the great war made that difference." No, this was before
the war. Now let us go to the statistics of the State of New York,
before the war, and we find, according to the official tables of the
census taken in 1860, that there were 45,104 more females than males
in that one State, between the ages of twenty and thirty years--a
marriageable age recollect. Now let us go to the State of Massachusetts
and look at the statistics there. In the year 1865, there were 33,452
more females than males between the age of twenty and thirty. We might
go on from State to State, and then to the census taken by the United
States, and a vast surplus would be shown of females over males of a
marriageable age. What is to be done with them? I will tell you what
Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York say: they say, virtually, "We
will pass a law so strict, that if these females undertake to marry a
man who has another wife, both they and the men they marry shall be
subject to a term of imprisonment in the penitentiary." Indeed! Then
what are you going to do with these hundreds of thousands of females
of a marriageable age? "We are going to make them either old maids
or prostitutes, and we would a little rather have them prostitutes,
then we men would have no need to marry." This is the conclusion many
of these marriageable males, between twenty and thirty years of age,
have come to. They will not marry because the laws of the land have
a tendency to make prostitutes, and they can purchase all the animal
gratification they desire without being bound to any woman; hence many
of them have mistresses, by whom they raise children, and, when they
get tired of them, turn both mother and children into the street,
with nothing to support them, the law allowing them to do so, because
the women are not wives. Thus the poor creatures are plunged into
the depths of misery, wretchedness, and degradation, because at all
risks they have followed the instincts implanted within them by their
Creator, and not having the opportunity to do so legally have done so
unlawfully. There are hundreds and thousands of females in this boasted
land of liberty, through the narrow, contracted, bigoted state laws,
preventing them from ever getting husbands. That is what the Lord
is fighting against; we, also, are fighting against it, and for the
re-establishment of the Bible religion and the Celestial or Patriarchal
order of marriage.

It is no matter according to the Constitution whether we believe in the
patriarchal parts of the Bible, in the Mosiac or in the Christian part;
whether we believe in one-half, two-thirds, or in the whole of it; that
is nobody's business. The Constitution never granted power to Congress
to prescribe what part of the Bible any people should believe in or
reject; it never intended any such thing.

Much more might be said, but the congregation is large, and a speaker,
of course, will weary. Though my voice is tolerably good, I feel weary
in making a congregation of from eight to ten thousand people hear
me, I have tried to do so. May God bless you, and may He pour out His
Spirit upon the rising generation among us, and upon the missionaries
who are about to be sent to the United States, and elsewhere, that
the great principles, political, religious and domestic, that God has
ordained and established, may be made known to all people.

In this land of liberty in religious worship, let us boldly proclaim
our rights, to believe in and practise any Bible precept, command or
doctrine, whether in the Old or New Testament, whether relating to
ceremonies, ordinances, domestic relations, or anything else, not
incompatible with the rights of others, and the great revelations of
Almighty God manifested in ancient and modern times. Amen.








It is a difficult undertaking to address this immense audience.
If a man commences speaking loud, in a short time his voice gives
out; whereas, if he commences rather low, he may raise his voice by
degrees, and be able to sustain himself in speaking some length of
time. But with children crying, a few persons whispering, and some
shuffling their feet, it is indeed a difficult task to make an audience
of ten thousand persons hear. I have listened with pleasure to the
instructions of our brethren from the commencement of our Conference
to the present time. I have rejoiced in their testimonies. I have felt
that the Elders are improving in wisdom, in knowledge, in power and in
understanding; and I rejoice in the privilege, which we have at the
present day, of sending out to our own country, a few hundred of the
Elders who have had experience--who have lived in Israel long enough
to know, to feel and to realize the importance of the work in which
they are engaged--to understand its principles and comprehend the way
of life. They can bear testimony to a generation that has nearly grown
from childhood since the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The Lord said in relation to those who have driven the Saints that he
would visit "judgment, wrath and indignation, wailing and anguish,
and gnashing of teeth upon their heads unto the third and fourth
generation, so long as they repent not and hate me, saith the Lord your

I am a native of Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, New York--a town
somewhat famous for its literary institutions, its learning and the
religion and morality of its inhabitants. I left there in my youth,
with my father's family, because we had received the Gospel of Jesus
Christ, as revealed through Joseph Smith; and followed with the Saints
through their drivings and trials unto the present day.

I have never seen the occasion, nor let the opportunity slip, from
the time when I first came to a knowledge of the truth of the work
of the Lord in the last days, that I understood it was in my power
to do good for the advancement of this work, but what I have used my
utmost endeavors to accomplish that good. I have never failed to bear a
faithful testimony to the work of God, or to carry out, to all intents
and purposes, the wishes and designs of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I was
his kinsman; was familiar with him, though several years his junior;
knew his views, his sentiments, his ways, his designs, and many of
the thoughts of his heart, and I do know that the servants of God,
the Twelve Apostles, upon whom He laid the authority to bear off the
Kingdom of God, and fulfill the work which he had commenced, have done
according to his designs, in every particular, up to the present time,
and are continuing to do so. And I know, furthermore, that he rejoiced
in the fact that the law of redemption and Celestial Marriage was
revealed unto the Church in such a manner that it would be out of the
power of earth and hell to destroy it; and that he rejoiced in the fact
that the servants of God were ready prepared, having the keys, to bear
off the work he had commenced. Previous to my leaving Potsdam, there
was but one man that I heard of in that town who did not believe the
Bible. He proclaimed himself an atheist and he drowned himself.

The Latter-day Saints believe the Bible. An agent of the American Bible
Society called on me the other day and wanted to know if we would aid
the Society in circulating the Bible in our Territory? I replied yes,
by all means, for it was the book from which we were enabled to set
forth our doctrines, and especially the doctrine of plural marriage.

There is an opinion in the breasts of many persons--who suppose that
they believe the Bible--that Christ, when He came, did away with plural
marriage, and that He inaugurated what is termed monogamy; and there
are certain arguments and quotations used to maintain this view of
the subject, one of which is found in Paul's first epistle to Timothy
(iii chap. 2 vs.), where Paul says: "A Bishop should be blameless, the
husband of one wife." The friends of monogamy render it in this way: "A
Bishop should be blameless, the husband of but one wife." That would
imply that any one but a bishop might have more. But they will say,
"We mean--a bishop should be blameless, the husband of one wife only."
Well, that would also admit of the construction that other people might
have more than one. I understand it to mean that a bishop must be a
married man.

A short time ago, the Minister from the King of Greece to the United
States called on President Young. I inquired of him in relation to the
religion of his country, and asked him if the clergy were allowed to
marry. It is generally understood that the Roman Catholic clergy are
not allowed to marry. How is it with the Greek clergy? "Well," said he,
"all the clergy marry except the Bishop." I replied, "you render the
saying of Paul differently from what we do. We interpret it to mean--"a
bishop should be blameless, the husband of one wife at least;" and "we
construe it" said he "directly the opposite."

Now this passage does not prove that a man should have but one wife.
It only proves that a bishop should be a married man. The same remark
is made of deacons, that they also should have wives. Another passage
is brought up where the Savior speaks of divorce. He tells us that it
is very wrong to divorce, and that Moses permitted it because of the
hardness of their (the children of Israel) hearts. A man should leave
his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife, and they twain
should be one flesh. That is the principal argument raised that a man
should have but one wife.

In the New Testament, in various places, certain eminent men are
referred to as patterns of faith, purity, righteousness and piety. For
instance, if you read the epistle of Paul to the Hebrews, the 11th
chap., you find therein selected those persons "who through faith
subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the
mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of
the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight,
turning to flight the armies of the aliens;" and it is said that by
faith Jacob blessed the two sons of Joseph, and that he conferred upon
them a blessing to the "uttermost bounds of the everlasting hills."
Who was Joseph? Why, Joseph was the son of Rachel. And who was Rachel?
Rachel was the second wife of Jacob, a polygamist. Jacob had four
wives; and after he had taken the second, (Rachel) she, being barren,
gave a third wife unto her husband that she might bear children unto
him for her; and instead of being displeased with her for giving her
husband another wife, God heard her prayer, blessed her, worked a
miracle in her favor, by opening her womb, and she bear a son, and
called his name Joseph, rejoicing in God, whom she testified would give
her another son. The question now arises--were not Rachel and Jacob
one flesh? Yes. Leah and Jacob were also one flesh. Jacob is selected
by the Apostle Paul as a pattern of faith for Christians to follow; he
blessed his twelve sons, whom he had by four wives. The law of God, as
it existed in those days, and as laid down in this book, (the Bible)
makes children born of adultery or of fornication bastards; and they
were prohibited from entering into the congregation of the Lord unto
the fourth generation.

Now, instead of God blessing Rachel and Jacob and their offspring,
as we are told He did, we might have expected something entirely
different, had it not been that God was pleased with and approbated and
sustained a plurality of wives.

While we are considering this subject, we will enquire, did the Savior
in any place that we read of, in the course of His mission on the
earth, denounce a plurality of wives? He lived in a nation of Jews;
the law of Moses was in force, plurality of wives was the custom, and
thousands upon thousands of people, from the highest to the lowest in
the land, were polygamists. The Savior denounced adultery; He denounced
fornication; He denounced lust; also, divorce; but is there a single
sentence asserting that plurality of wives is wrong? If so, where is
it? Who can find it? Why did He not say it was wrong? "Think not," said
He, "that I am come to destroy the law or the Prophets. I am not come
to destroy, but to fulfil. Not one jot or one tittle shall pass from
the law and the Prophets, but all shall be fulfilled." Of what does the
Savior speak when He refers to "the law?" Why, of the Ten Commandments,
and other rules of life commanded by God and adopted by the ancients,
and which Bro. Pratt referred to yesterday, showing you from the
sacred book that God legislated and made laws for the protection of a
plurality of wives, (Exod. 21, 10) and that He commanded men to take a
plurality under some circumstances. Brother Pratt further showed that
the Lord made arrangements to protect, to all intents and purposes, the
interests of the first wife; and to shield and protect the children
of a wife from disinheritance who might be unfortunate enough not to
have the affections of her husband. (Deut., 21.15.) These things were
plainly written in the law--that law of which the Savior says "not
one jot or one tittle shall pass away." Continuing our inquiry, we
pass on to the epistles of John the Evangelist, which we find in the
book of Revelations, written to the seven churches of Asia. In them we
find the Evangelist denounces adultery, fornication, and all manner
of iniquities and abominations of which these churches were guilty.
Anything against a plurality of wives? No; not a syllable. Yet those
churches were in a country in which plurality was the custom. Hundreds
of Saints had more wives than one; and if it had been wrong, what would
have been the result? Why, John would have denounced the practice, the
same as the children of Israel were denounced for marrying heathen
wives, had it not been that the law of plurality was the commandment of

Again, on this point, we can refer to the Prophets of the Old
Testament--Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others. When God called those
men he warned them that if they did not deliver the message to the
people which He gave them concerning their sins and iniquities His
vengeance should rest upon their heads. These are his words to Ezekiel:
"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel:
therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him
not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to
save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his
blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he
turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in
his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezek. iii.17.18.29.)
How do we find these Prophets of the Lord fulfilling the commandments
of the Almighty? We find them pouring out denunciations upon the heads
of the people--against adultery, fornication and every species of
wickedness. All this, too, in a country in which, from the King down to
the lowest orders of the people, a plurality of wives was practised. Do
they say anything against plurality of wives? Not one word. It was only
in cases where men and women took improper license with each other, in
violation of the holy law of marriage, that they were guilty of sin.

If plurality of wives had been a violation of the seventh commandment
those prophets would have denounced it, otherwise their silence on the
matter would have been dangerous to themselves, inasmuch as the blood
of the people would have been required at their hands. The opposers of
Celestial Marriage sometimes quote a passage in the seventh chapter of
Romans, second and third verses, to show that a plurality of wives is
wrong; but when we come to read the passage it shows that a plurality
of husbands is wrong. You can rend the passage for yourselves. In
the forcible parable used by the Savior in relation to the rich man
and Lazarus, we find recorded that the poor man Lazarus was carried
to Abraham's bosom--Abraham the father of the faithful. The rich man
calls unto Father Abraham to send Lazarus, who is afar off. Who was
Abraham? He was a man who had a plurality of wives. And yet all good
Christians, even pious church deacons, expect when they die to go to
Abraham's bosom. I am sorry to say, however, that thousands of them
will be disappointed, from the fact that they cannot and will not go
where any one has a plurality of wives; and I am convinced that Abraham
will not turn out his own wives to receive such unbelievers in God's
law. One peculiarity of this parable is the answer of Abraham to the
application of the rich man, to send Lazarus to his five brothers "lest
they come into this place of torment," which was--"they have Moses and
the prophets, let them hear them; and if they hear not Moses and the
prophets, neither would they be persuaded though one rose from the
dead." Moses' law provided for a plurality of wives, and the prophets
observed that law, and Isaiah predicts its observance even down to the
latter-days. Isaiah, in his 4th chap. and 1st and 2nd verses, says
"seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, we will eat our own
bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name to
take away our reproach. In that day shall the branch of the Lord be
beautiful and glorious and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent."

A reference to the Scriptures shows that the reproach of woman is to be
childless, Gen. c. 30, v. 23; Luke c. 1, v. 25.

We will now refer to John the Baptist. He came as the forerunner of
Christ. He was a lineal descendant of the house of Levi. His father
was a priest. John the Baptist was a child born by miracle, God
having revealed to his father that Elizabeth, who had been many years
barren, should bear a son. John feared not the world, but went forth
preaching in the wilderness of Judea, declaiming against wickedness and
corruption in the boldest terms. He preached against extortion; against
the cruelty exercised by the soldiers and tax gatherers. He even was so
bold as to rebuke the king on his throne, to his face, for adultery.
Did he say anything against a plurality of wives? No: it cannot be
found. Yet thousands were believers in and practised this order of
marriage, under the law of Moses that God had revealed.

In bringing this subject before you, we cannot help saying that God
knew what was best for His people. Hence He commanded them as He
would have them act. The law, regulating marriage previous to Moses,
recognized a plurality of wives. Abraham and Jacob and others had
a plurality. These are the men who are referred to in scripture as
patterns of piety and purity. David had many wives. The scripture says
that David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord and turned
not aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life,
save in the matter of Uriah the Hittite, 1 Kings, 15 chap. 5 vs. "I
have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart which
shall fulfill all my will. Of this man's seed hath God, according to
His promise, raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus." Acts 13 chap., 22
and 23 vs. Did David sin in taking so many wives? No. In what, then,
did his sin consist? It was because he took the wife of Uriah, the
Hittite--that is, violated the law of God in taking her. The Lord had
given him the wives of Saul and would have given him many more; but
he had no right to take one who belonged to another. When he did so
the curse of adultery fell upon his head, and his wives were taken
from him and given to another. We will now inquire in relation to the
Savior himself. From whom did he descend? From the house of David, a
polygamist; and if you will trace the names of the familles through
which He descended you will find that numbers of them had a plurality
of wives. How appropriate it would have been for Jesus, descending as
he did from a race of polygamists, to denounce this institution of
plural marriage and show its sinfulness, had it been a sin! Can we
suppose, for one moment, if Patriarchal Marriage were wrong, that He
would, under the circumstances have been silent concerning it or failed
to denounce it in the most positive manner? Then if plural marriage be
adultery and the offspring spurious, Christ Jesus is not the Christ;
and we must look for another.

All good Christians are flattering themselves with the hope that they
will finally enter the gates of the New Jerusalem. I presume this is
the hope of all denominations--Catholics, Protestants, Greeks, and all
who believe the Bible. Suppose they go there, what will they find?
They will find at the twelve gates twelve angels, and "names written
thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children
of Israel." The names of the twelve sons of Jacob, the polygamist.
Can a monogamist enter there? "And the walls of the city had twelve
foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the lamb;"
and at the gates the names of the twelve tribes of Israel--from the
twelve sons of the four wives of Jacob. Those who denounce Patriarchal
Marriage will have to stay without and never walk the golden streets.
And any man or woman that lifts his or her voice to proclaim against a
plurality of wives under the Government of God, will have to seek an
inheritance outside of that city. For "there shall in no wise enter
into it, anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination
or maketh a lie, for without are sorcerers, whoremongers, and whosoever
loveth and maketh a lie." Is not the man that denounces Celestial
Marriage a liar? Does he not work abomination? "I, Jesus, have sent
mine Angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am
the root and offspring of [the polygamist] David, the bright and the
morning star."

May God enable us to keep His law, for "blessed are they that do His
commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and may
enter in through the gate into the city." Amen.








I will repeat a few verses in the tenth chapter of Mark, commencing at
the twenty-eighth verse:

 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have
 followed thee.

 And Jesus answered and said, verily I say unto you, There is no man
 that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother,
 or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,

 But he shall receive an hundred-fold now in this time, houses, and
 brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with
 persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

In rising to address you this morning, my brethren and sisters, I rely
upon your faith and prayers and the blessing of God. We have heard,
during Conference, a great many precious instructions, and in none
have I been more interested than in those which have been given to
the Saints concerning that much mooted doctrine called Patriarchal or
Celestial Marriage. I am interested in this doctrine, because I see
salvation, temporal and spiritual, embodied therein. I know, pretty
well, what the popular feelings concerning this doctrine are; I am
familiar with the opinions of the world, having traveled and mingled
with the people sufficiently to be conversant with their ideas in
relation to this subject. I am also familiar with the feelings of the
Latter-day Saints upon this point. I know the sacrifice of feeling
which it has caused for them to adopt this principle in their faith and
lives. It has required the revelation of God, our Heavenly Father, to
enable His people to receive this principle and carry it out. I wish,
here, to make one remark in connection with this subject--that while
there is abundant proof to be found in the scriptures and elsewhere
in support of this doctrine, still it is not because it was practised
four thousand years ago by the servants and people of God, or because
it has been practised by any people or nation in any period of the
world's history, that the Latter-day Saints have adopted it and made
it part of their practice, but it is because God, our Heavenly Father,
has revealed it unto us. If there were no record of its practice to
be found, and if the Bible, Book of Mormon and Book of Doctrine and
Covenants were totally silent in respect to this doctrine, it would
nevertheless be binding upon us as a people, God himself having given
a revelation for us to practise it at the present time. This should be
understood by us as a people. It is gratifying to know, however, that
we are not the first of God's people unto whom this principle has been
revealed; it is gratifying to know that we are only following in the
footsteps of those who have preceded us in the work of God, and that
we, to-day, are only carrying out the principle which God's people
observed, in obedience to revelation received from Him, thousands of
years ago. It is gratifying to know that we are suffering persecution,
that we are threatened with lines and imprisonment for the practice
of precisely the same principle which Abraham, the "friend of God,"
practised in his life and taught to his children after him.

The discourses of Brother Orson Pratt and of President George A. Smith
have left but very little to be said in relation to the scriptural
arguments in favor of this doctrine. I know that the general opinion
among men is that the Old Testament, to some extent, sustains it; but
that the New Testament--Jesus and the Apostles, were silent concerning
it. It was clearly proved in our hearing yesterday, and the afternoon
of the day previous, that the New Testament, though not so explicit
in reference to the doctrine, is still decidedly in favor of it and
sustains it. Jesus very plainly told the Jews, when boasting of being
the seed of Abraham, that if they were, they would do the works of
Abraham. He and the Apostles, in various places, clearly set forth that
Abraham was the great exemplar of faith for them to follow, and that
they must follow him if they ever expected to participate in the glory
and exaltation enjoyed by Abraham and his faithful seed. Throughout the
New Testament Abraham is held up to the converts to the doctrines which
Jesus taught, as an example worthy of imitation, and in no place is
there a word of condemnation uttered concerning him. The Apostle Paul,
in speaking of him says:

"Know ye, therefore, that they which are of the faith, the same are the
children of Abraham. * * * * So then they which be of the faith are
blessed with faithful Abraham."

He also says that the Gentiles, through adoption, became Abraham's
seed; that the blessing of Abraham, says he, might come upon the
Gentiles through Jesus Christ, shewing plainly that Jesus and all the
Apostles who alluded to the subject, held the deeds of Abraham to be,
in every respect, worthy of imitation.

Who was this Abraham? I have heard the saying frequently advanced, that
in early life, being an idolater, it was an idolatrous, heathenish
principle which he adopted in taking to himself a second wife while
Sarah still lived. Those who make this assertion in reference to the
great patriarch, seem to be ignorant of the fact that he was well
advanced in life and had served God faithfully many years, prior to
making any addition to his family. He did not have a plurality of wives
until years after the Lord had revealed Himself to him, commanding him
to leave Ur, of the Chaldees, and go forth to a land which He would
give to him and his posterity for an everlasting possession. He went
forth and lived in that land many long years before the promise of God
was fulfilled unto him--namely, that in his seed should all the nations
of the earth be blessed; and Abraham was still without any heir, except
Eliezer, of Damascus, the steward of his house. At length, after living
thus for ten years, God commanded him to take to himself another wife,
who was given to him by his wife Sarah. When the offspring of this
marriage was born, Abraham was eighty-six years old.

We read of no word of condemnation from the Lord for this
act--something which we might naturally expect if, as this unbelieving
and licentious generation affirm, the act of taking more wives than one
be such a vile crime, and so abominable in the sight of God; for if it
be evil in the sight of the Lord to-day it was then, for the scriptures
inform us that He changes not, He is the same yesterday, today and
forever, and is without variableness or the shadow of turning. But
instead of condemnation, God revealed himself continually to his friend
Abraham, teaching His will unto him, revealing all things concerning
the future which it was necessary for him to understand, and promising
him that, though he had been blessed with a son, Ishmael, yet in
Isaac, a child of promise, not yet born, should his seed be called.
Abraham was to have yet another son. Sarah, in her old age, because
of her faithfulness, because of her willingness to comply with the
requirements and revelations of God, was to have a son given unto her.
Such an event was so unheard of among women at her time of life that,
though the Lord promised it, she could not help laughing at the idea.
But God fulfilled His promise, and in due time Isaac was born, and was
greatly blessed of the Lord.

Determined to try His faithful servant Abraham to the uttermost, the
Lord, some years after the birth of this son, in whom He had promised
that Abraham's seed should be called, required him to offer up this boy
as a burnt offering to Him; and Abraham, nothing doubting, but full of
faith and integrity, and of devotion to his God, proved himself worthy
of the honored title that had been conferred upon him, namely, "the
Friend of God," by taking his son Isaac, in whom most of his hopes for
the future centred, up the mountain, and there, having built the altar,
he bound the victim and, with knife uplifted, was about to strike the
fatal blow, when the angel of the Lord cried out of heaven, commanding
him not to slay his son. The Lord was satisfied, having tried him to
the uttermost, and found him willing even to shed the blood of his well
beloved son.

The Lord was so pleased with the faithfulness of Abraham, that He gave
unto him the greatest promise He could give to any human being on the
face of the earth. What do you think was the nature of that promise?
Did He promise to Abraham a crown of eternal glory? Did He promise to
him that he should be in the presence of the Lamb, that he should tune
his harp, and sing praises to God and the Lamb, throughout the endless
ages of eternity? Let me quote it to you, and it would be well if all
the inhabitants of the earth would reflect upon it. Said the Lord:

"In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy
seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea
shore: and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies."

This was the promise which God gave to Abraham, in that hour of
his triumph, in that hour when there was joy in heaven over the
faithfulness of one of God's noblest and most devoted sons. Think of
the greatness of this blessing! Can you count the stars of heaven, or
even the grains of a handful of sand? No, it is beyond the power of
earth's most gifted sons to do either, and yet God promised to Abraham
that his seed should be as innumerable as the stars of heaven or as the
sand on the sea-shore.

How similar was this promise of God to Abraham to that made by Jesus as
a reward for faithfulness to those who followed Him! Said Jesus, "He
that forsakes brothers or sisters, houses or lands, father or mother,
wives or children, shall receive a hundred fold in this life with
persecution, and eternal life in the world to come." A very similar
blessing to that which God, long before, had made to Abraham, and
couched in very similar terms.

It is pertinent for us to enquire, on the present occasion, how the
promises made by Jesus and His Father, in ages of the world separated
by a long interval the one from the other, could be realized under the
system which prevails throughout Christendom at the present day? In the
monogamic system, under which the possession of more than one living
wife is regarded as such a crime, and as being so fearfully immoral,
how could the promise of the Savior to his faithful followers, that
they should have a hundredfold of wives and children, in this present
life, ever be realized? There is a way which God has provided in a
revelation given to this Church, in which He says:

"Strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the
exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find
it, because ye receive me not in this world, neither do ye know me."

God revealed that strait and narrow way to Abraham, and taught him
how he could enter therein. He taught him the principle of plurality
of wives; Abraham practised it and bequeathed it to his children as
a principle which they were to practise. Under such a system it was
a comparatively easy matter for men to have a hundred fold of wives,
children, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and everything else in
proportion; and in no other way could the promises of Jesus be realized
by His followers, than in the way God has provided, and which He has
revealed to His Church and people in these latter-days.

I have felt led to dwell on these few passages from the sayings of
Jesus, to show you that there is abundance of scriptural proofs in
favor of this principle and the position this Church has assumed, in
addition to those previously referred to.

It is a blessed thing to know that, in this as in every other doctrine
and principle taught by us as a Church, we are sustained by the
revelations God gave to His people anciently. One of the strongest
supports the Elders of this Church have had in their labors among the
nations was the knowledge that the Bible and New Testament sustained
every principle they advanced to the people. When they preached faith,
repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, the laying on of hands
for the reception of the Holy Ghost, the gathering of the people from
the nations, the re-building of Jerusalem, the second coming of Christ,
and every other principle ever touched upon by them, it was gratifying
to know that they were sustained by the scriptures, and that they could
turn to chapter and verse among the sayings of Jesus and His Apostles,
or among those of the ancient prophets, in confirmation of every
doctrine they ever attempted to bring to the attention of those to whom
they ministered. There is nothing with which the Latter-day Saints can,
with more confidence, refer to the scriptures for confirmation and
support, than the doctrine of plural marriage, which, at the present
time, among one of the most wicked, adulterous and corrupt generations
the world has ever seen, is so much hated, and for which mankind
generally, are so anxious to cast out and persecute the Latter-day

If we look abroad and peruse the records of everyday life throughout
the whole of Christendom, we find that crimes of every hue, and of
the most appalling and revolting character are constantly committed,
exciting neither surprise nor comment. Murder, robbery, adultery,
seduction and every species of villany known in the voluminous
catalogue of crime, in modern times, are regarded as mere matters of
ordinary occurrence, and yet there is a hue and cry raised, almost
as wide as Christendom, for the persecution, by fine, imprisonment,
proscription, outlawry or extermination, of the people of Utah because,
knowing that God, the Eternal Father, has spoken in these days and
revealed his mind and will to them, they dare to carry out His
behests. For years they have meekly submitted to this persecution and
contumely, but they appeal now, as ever, to all rational, reflecting
men, and invite comparison between the state of society here and in
any portion of this or any other country, knowing that the verdict
will be unanimous and overwhelming in their favor. In every civilized
country on the face of the earth the seducer plies his arts to envelop
his victim within his meshes, in order to accomplish her ruin most
completely; and it is well known that men holding positions of trust
and responsibility, looked upon as honorable and highly respectable
members of society, violate their marriage vows by carrying on their
secret amours and supporting mistresses; yet against the people of
Utah, where such things are totally unknown, there is an eternal and
rabid outcry because they practise the heaven-revealed system of a
plurality of wives. It is a most astonishing thing, and no greater
evidence could be given that Satan reigns in the hearts of the children
of men, and that he is determined, if possible, to destroy the work of
God from the face of the earth.

The Bible, the only work accepted by the nations of Christendom, as a
divine revelation, sustains this doctrine, from beginning to end. The
only revelation on record that can be quoted against it came through
the Prophet Joseph Smith, and is contained in the Book of Mormon; and
strange to say, here in Salt Lake City, a day or or two since, one of
the leading men of the nation, in his eager desire and determination to
cast discredit on this doctrine, unable to do so by reference to the
Bible, which he no doubt, in common with all Christians, acknowledges
as divine, was compelled to have recourse to the Book of Mormon, a work
which on any other point, he would most unquestionably have scouted
and ridiculed, as an emanation from the brain of an impostor. What
consistency! A strange revolution this, that men should have recourse
to our own works, whose authenticity they most emphatically deny, to
prove us in the wrong. Yet this attempt, whenever made, cannot be
sustained, for Brother Pratt clearly showed to you, in his remarks the
other day, that instead of the Book of Mormon being opposed to this
principle, it contains an express provision for the revelation of the
principle to us as a people at some future time--namely that when the
Lord should desire to raise up unto Himself a righteous seed, He would
command His people to that effect. Plainly setting forth that a time
would come when He would command His people to do so.

It is necessary that this principle should be practised under the
auspices and control of the priesthood. God has placed that priesthood
in the Church to govern and control all the affairs thereof, and this
is a principle which, if not practised in the greatest holiness and
purity, might lead men into great sin, therefore the priesthood is
the more necessary to guide and control men in the practice of this
principle. There might be circumstances and situations in which it
would not be wisdom in the mind of God for his people to practise
this principle, but so long as a people are guided by the priesthood
and revelations of God there is no danger of evil arising therefrom.
If we, as a people, had attempted to practise this principle without
revelation, it is likely that we should have been led into grievous
sins and the condemnation of God would have rested upon us; but the
Church waited until the proper time came, and then the people practised
it according to the mind and will of God, making a sacrifice of their
own feelings in so doing. But the history of the world goes to prove
that the practice of this principle even by nations ignorant of the
gospel has resulted in greater good to them than the practice of
monogamy or the one-wife system in the so-called Christian nations.
To-day, Christendom holds itself and its institutions aloft as a
pattern for all men to follow. If you travel throughout the United
States and through the nations of Europe in which Christianity
prevails, and talk with the people about their institutions, they
will boast of them as being the most permanent, indestructible and
progressive of any institutions existing upon the earth; yet it is a
fact well known to historians, that the Christian nations of Europe are
the youngest nations on the globe. Where are the nations which have
existed from time immemorial? They are not to be found in Christian
monogamic Europe, but in Asia, among the polygamic races--China,
Japan, Hindostan and the various races of that vast continent. Those
nations, from the most remote times, practised plural marriage handed
down to them by their forefathers. Although they are looked upon by
the nations of Europe as semi-civilized, you will not find among them,
woman prostituted, debased and degraded as she is through Christendom.
She may be treated coldly, and degraded, but among them, except where
the Christian element to a large extent prevails, she is not debased
and polluted as she is among the so-called Christian nations. It is a
fact worthy of note that the shortest lived nations of which we have
record have been monogamic. Rome, with her arts, sciences, and war-like
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. The strongest sayings of Jesus, recorded in the New Testament,
were levelled against the dreadful corruptions practised in Rome and
wherever the Romans held sway. The leaven of their institutions had
worked its way into the Jewish nation, Jewry or Palestine being then a
Roman province, and governed by Roman officers, who brought with them
their wicked institutions, and Jesus denounced the practices which
prevailed there.

A few years before the birth of the Savior, Julius Caesar was First
Consul at Rome; he aimed at and obtained imperial power. He had four
wives during his life and committed numerous adulteries. His first
wife he married early; but, becoming ambitious, the alliance did not
suit him, and, as the Roman law did not permit him to retain her
and to marry another, he put her away. He then married the daughter
of a consul, thinking to advance his interests thereby. She died,
and a third was married. The third was divorced, and he married a
fourth, with whom he was living at the time he was murdered. His
grand-nephew, the Emperor Augustus Caesar, reigned at the time of the
birth of Christ. He is alluded to in history as one of the greatest of
the Caesars; he also had four wives. He divorced one after another,
except the last, who out-lived him. These men were not singular in
this practice; it was common in Rome; the Romans did not believe
in plurality of wives, but in divorcing them; in taking wives for
convenience and putting them away when they got tired of them. In our
country divorces are increasing, yet Roman-like, men expect purity
and chastity from their wives they do not practise themselves. You
recollect, doubtless, the famous answer of Caesar when his wife was
accused of an intrigue with an infamous man. Some one asked Caesar why
he had put away his wife. Said he, "The wife of Caesar must not only
be incorrupt but unsuspected." He could not bear to have the virtue of
his wife even suspected, yet his own life was infamous in the extreme.
He was a seducer, adulterer and is reported to have practised even a
worse crime, yet he expected his wife to possess a virtue which, in his
highest and holiest moments, was utterly beyond his conception in his
own life.

This leaven was spreading itself over every country where the Roman
Empire had jurisdiction. It had reached Palestine in the days of the
Savior, hence by understanding the practices prevalent in those times
amongst that people, you will be better able to appreciate the strong
language used by Jesus against putting away, or divorcing wives. Rome
continued to practise corruption until she fell beneath the weight
of it, and was overwhelmed, not by another monogamic race, but by
the vigorous polygamic hordes from the north, who swept away Roman
imperialism, establishing in the place thereof institutions of their
own. But they speedily fell into the same habit of having one wife and
multitudes of courtesans, and soon, like Rome, fell beneath their own

When courtesans were taught every accomplishment and honored with the
society of the leading men of the nation, and wives were deprived of
these privileges, is it any wonder that Rome should fall? or that the
more pure, or barbarous nations, as they were called, overwhelmed and
destroyed her?

I have had it quoted to me many times that no great nations ever
practised plural marriage. They who make such an assertion are utterly
ignorant of history. What nations have left the deepest impress on the
history of our race? Those which have practised plurality of marriage.
They have prevented the dreadful crime of prostitution by allowing men
to have more wives than one. I know we are dazzled by the glory of
Christendom; we are dazzled with the glory of our own age. Like every
generation that has preceded it, the present generation thinks it is
the wisest and best, and nearer to God than any which has preceded it.
This is natural; it is a weakness of human nature. This is the case
with nations as well as generations. China, to-day, calls all western
nations "outside barbarians." Japan, Hindostan and all other polygamic
nations do the same, and in very many respects they have as much right
to say that of monogamic nations, as the latter have to say it of them.

I heard a traveller remark a few days ago, while in conversation with
him, "I have travelled through Asia Minor and Turkey, and I have
blushed many times when contrasting the practices and institutions of
those people with those of my own country," the United States. He is a
gentleman with whom I had a discussion some years ago on the principle
of plural marriage. He has traveled a good deal since then, and he
remarked to me: "Travel enlarges a man's head and his heart. I have
learned a great many things since we had a discussion together, and
I have modified my views and opinions very materially with regard to
the excellence of the institutions, habits and morals which prevail in
Christendom." This gentleman told me that among those nations, which
we call semi-civilized, there are no drinking saloons, no brothels,
nor drunkenness, and an entire absence of many other evils which exist
in our own nation. I think this testimony, coming from a man who,
previously, had such strong prejudices, was very valuable. He is not
the only one who has borne this testimony, but all reliable travelers,
who have lived in Oriental nations, vouch for the absence of those
monstrous evils which flourish in and fatten and fester upon the vitals
of all civilized or Christian nations.

In speaking of Utah and this peculiar practice amongst its people it
is frequently said, "Look at the Turks and other Oriental nations and
see how women are degraded and debased among them, and deprived of many
privileges which they enjoy among us!" But if it be true that woman
does not occupy her true position among those nations, is this not more
attributable to their rejection of the gospel than to their practice
of having a plurality of wives? Whatever her condition may be there,
however, I do not therefore accept, as a necessary conclusion, that
she must be degraded among us. We have received the gospel of the Lord
Jesus, the principles of which elevate all who honor them, and will
impart to our sisters every blessing necessary to make them noble and
good in the presence of God and man.

Look at the efforts which are being made to elevate the sex among the
Latter-day Saints! See the privileges that are given them, and listen
to the teachings imparted to them day by day, week by week, and year by
year, to encourage them to press forward in the march of improvement!
The elevation of the sex must follow as a result of these instructions.
The practice in the world is to select a few of the sex and to elevate
them. There is no country in the world, probably, where women are
idolized to the extent they are in the United States. But is the entire
sex in the United States thus honored and respected? No; it is not.
Any person who will travel, and observe while he is travelling, will
find that thousands of women are degraded and treated as something very
vile, and are terribly debased in consequence of the practices of men
towards them. But the gospel of Jesus, and the revelations which God
has given unto us concerning Patriarchal Marriage have a tendency to
elevate the entire sex, and give all the privilege of being honored
matrons and respected wives. There are no refuse among us--no class to
be cast out, scorned and condemned; but every woman who chooses, can
be an honored wife and move in society in the enjoyment of every right
which woman should enjoy to make her the equal of man as far as she can
be his equal.

This is the result of the revelations of the gospel unto us, and the
effect of the preaching and practice of this principle in our midst.
I know, however, that there are those who shrink from this, who feel
their hearts rebel against the principle, because of the equality which
it bestows on the sex. They would like to be the honored few--the
aristocrats of society as it were, while their sisters might perish on
every hand around them. They would not, if they could, extend their
hands to save their sisters from a life of degradation. This is wrong
and a thing which God is displeased at. He has revealed this principle
and commanded His servants to take wives. What for? That they may
obey his great command--a command by which Eternity is peopled, a
command by which Abraham's seed shall become as the stars of heaven for
multitude, and as the sand on the sea shore that cannot be counted. He
has given to us this command, and shall we, the sterner sex, submit to
all the difficulties and trials entailed in carrying it out? Shall we
submit to all the afflictions and labor incident to this life to save
our sisters, while many of you who are of the same sex, whose hearts
ought to beat for their salvation as strongly as ours do, will not
help us? I leave you all to answer. There is a day of reckoning coming
when you will be held accountable as well as we. Every woman in this
Church should join heart and hand in this great work, which has for its
result, the redemption of the sexes, both male and female. No woman
should slacken her hand or withhold her influence, but every one should
seek by prayer and faith unto God for the strength and grace necessary
to enable her to do so. "But," says one, "is not this a trial, and does
it not inflict upon us unnecessary trials?" There are afflictions and
trials connected with this principle. It is necessary there should be.
Is there any law that God reveals unattended with a trial of some kind?
Think of the time, you who are adults, and were born in the nations,
when you joined the Church! Think of the trials connected with your
espousal of the gospel. Did it not try you to go forth and be baptized?
Did it not try you, when called upon to gather, to leave your homes
and nearest and dearest friend, as many of you have done? Did it not
try you to do a great many things you have been required to do in the
gospel? Every law of the gospel has a trial connected with it, and
the higher the law the greater the trial; and as we ascend nearer and
nearer to the Lord our God we shall have greater trials to contend
with in purifying ourselves before Him. He has helped us this far. He
has helped us to conquer our selfish feelings, and when our sisters
seek unto Him He helps them to overcome their feelings; He gives them
strength to overcome their selfishness and jealousy. There is not a
woman under the sound of my voice to-day, but can bear witness of this
if she has tried it. You, sisters, whose husbands have taken other
wives, can you not bear testimony that the principle has purified your
hearts, made you less selfish, brought you nearer to God and given you
power you never had before? There are hundreds within the sound of my
voice to day, both men and women, who can testify that this has been
the effect that the practice of this principle has had upon them.

I am speaking now of what are called the spiritual benefits arising
from the righteous practice of this principle. I am sure that through
the practice of this principle, we shall have a purer community, a
community more experienced, less selfish and with a higher knowledge of
human nature than any other on the face of the earth. It has already
had this effect to a great extent, and its effects in these directions
will increase as the practice of the principle becomes more general.

A lady visitor remarked to me not long ago, in speaking upon this
subject: "Were I a man, I should feel differently probably to what
I do; to your sex the institution cannot be so objectionable." This
may be the case to some extent, but the practice of this principle is
by no means without its trials for the males. The difficulties and
perplexities connected with the care of a numerous family, to a man who
has any ambition, are so great that nothing short of the revelations
of God or the command of Jesus Christ, would tempt men to enter this
order; the mere increase of facilities to gratify the lower passions
of our natures would be no inducement to assume such an increase of
grave responsibilities. These desires have been implanted in both
male and female for a wise purpose, but their immoderate and illegal
gratification is a source of evil equal to that system of repression
prevalent in the world, to which thousands must submit or criminate

Just think, in the single State of Massachusetts, at the last census,
there were 63,011 females more than males. Brother Pratt, in his
remarks on this subject, truly remarked that the law of Massachusetts
makes these 63,011 females either old maids or prostitutes, for that
law says they shall not marry a man who has a wife. Think of this! And
the same is true to a greater or less degree throughout all the older
States, for the females preponderate in every one.

Thus far I have referred only to the necessity and benefit of this
principle being practised in a moral point of view. I have said
nothing about the physiological side of the question. This is one of
if not the strongest sources of argument in its favor; but I do not
propose to enter into that branch of the subject to any great extent
on the present occasion. We are all, both men and women, physiologists
enough to know that the procreative powers of man endure much longer
than those of woman. Granting, as some assert, that an equal number
of the sexes exist, what would this lead to? Man must practise that
which is vile and low or submit to a system of repression; because if
he be married to a woman who is physically incapable, he must either
do himself violence or what is far worse, he must have recourse to
the dreadful and damning practice of having illegal connection with
women, or become altogether like the beasts. Do you not see that if
these things were introduced among our society they would be pregnant
with the worst results? The greatest conceivable evils would result
therefrom! How dreadful are the consequences of this system of which I
am now speaking, as witnessed at the present time throughout all the
nations of Christendom! You may see them on every hand. Yet the attempt
is being continually made to bring us to the same standard, and to
compel us to share the same evils.

When the principle of plurality of wives was revealed I was but a
boy. When reflecting on the subject of the sealing power which was
then being taught, the case of Jacob, who had four wives, occurred to
me, and I immediately concluded that the time would come when light
connected with this practice would be revealed to us as a people. I
was therefore prepared for the principle when it was revealed, and I
know it is true on the principle that I know that baptism, the laying
on of hands, the gathering, and everything connected with the gospel
is true. If there were no books in existence, if the revelation itself
were blotted out, and there was nothing written in its favor, extant
among men, still I could bear testimony for myself that I know this
is a principle which, if practised in purity and virtue, as it should
be, will result in the exaltation and benefit of the human family; and
that it will exalt woman until she is redeemed from the effects of
the Fall, and from that curse pronounced upon her in the beginning. I
believe the correct practice of this principle will redeem woman from
the effects of that curse--namely, "Thy desire shall be to thy husband,
and he shall rule over thee." All the evils connected with jealousy
have their origin in this. It is natural for woman to cleave to man; it
was pronounced upon her in the beginning, seemingly as a punishment.
I believe the time will come when, by the practise of the virtuous
principles which God has revealed, woman will be emancipated from that
punishment and that feeling. Will she cease to love man? No, it is not
necessary for her to cease to love.

How is it among the nations of the earth? Why, women, in their yearning
after the other sex and in their desire for maternity, will do anything
to gratify that instinct of their nature, and yield to anything and be
dishonored even rather than not gratify it; and in consequence of that
which has been pronounced upon them, they are not held accountable to
the same extent that men are. Man is strong, he is the head of woman,
and God will hold him responsible for the use of the influence he
exercises over the opposite sex. Hence we were told by Brother Pratt
that there are degrees of glory, and that the faithful man may receive
the power of God--the greatest He has ever bestowed upon man--namely,
the power of procreation. It is a god-like power, but how it is
abused! How men debase themselves and the other sex by its unlawful
and improper exercise! We were told there is a glory to which alone
that power will be accorded in the life to come. Still there will be
millions of women saved in the kingdom of God, while men, through
the abuse of this precious gift, will not be counted worthy of such
a privilege. And this very punishment will, in the end, be woman's
salvation, because she is not held accountable to the same degree that
men are.

This is a subject that we should all do well to reflect upon. There are
many points connected with the question physiologically, that might
be dwelt upon with great advantage. I have heard it said, and seen
it printed, that the children born here under this system are not so
smart as others; that their eyes lack lustre and that they are dull
in intellect; and many strangers, especially ladies, when arriving
here, are anxious to see the children, having read accounts which have
led them to expect that most of the children born here are deficient.
But the testimony of Professor Park, the principal of the University
of Deseret, and of other leading teachers of the young here, is that
they never saw children with a greater aptitude for the acquisition
of knowledge than the children raised in this Territory. There are no
brighter children to be found in the world than those born in this
Territory. Under the system of Patriarchal Marriage, the offspring,
besides being equally as bright and brighter intellectually, are much
more healthy and strong. Need I go into particulars to prove this? To
you who are married there is no necessity of doing so; you know what I
mean. You all know that many women are sent to the grave prematurely
through the evil they have to endure from their husbands during
pregnancy and lactation, and their children often sustain irremediable

Another good effect of the institution here is that you may travel
throughout our entire Territory, and virtue prevails. Our young live
virtuously until they marry. But how is it under the monogamic system?
Temptations are numerous on every hand and young men fall a prey to
vice. An eminent medical professor in New York recently declared, while
delivering a lecture to his class in one of the colleges there, that if
he wanted a man twenty-five years of age, free from a certain disease,
he would not know where to find him. What a terrible statement to make!
In this community no such thing exists. Our boys grow up in purity,
honoring and respecting virtue; our girls do the same, and the great
mass of them are pure. There may be impurities. We are human, and it
would not be consistent with our knowledge of human nature to say that
we are entirely pure, but we are the most pure of any people within the
confines of the Republic. We have fewer unvirtuous boys and girls in
our midst than any other community within the range of my knowledge.
Both sexes grow up in vigor, health and purity.

These, my brethren and sisters, are some of the results which I wanted
to allude to in connection with this subject. Much more might be said.
There is not a man or woman who has listened to me to-day, but he and
she have thoughts, reasons and arguments to sustain this principle
passing through their minds which I have not touched upon, or, if
touched upon at all, in a very hasty manner.

The question arises, What is going to be done with this institution?
Will it be overcome? The conclusion arrived at long ago is that it is
God and the people for it. God has revealed it, He must sustain it,
we can not; we cannot bear it off, He must. I know that Napoleon said
Providence was on the side of the heaviest artillery, and many men
think that God is on the side of the strongest party. The Midianites
probably thought so when Gideon fell upon them with three hundred men.
Sennacherib and the Assyrians thought so when they came down in their
might to blot out Israel. But God is mighty; God will prevail; God will
sustain that which he has revealed, and He will uphold and strengthen
His servants and bear off His people. We need not be afflicted by a
doubt; a shadow of doubt need not cross our minds as to the result. We
know that God can sustain us: He has borne off His people in triumph
thus far and will continue to do so.

I did intend, when I got up, to say something in relation to the
effects of the priesthood; but as the time is so far gone, I feel that
if I say anything it must be very brief. But in connection with the
subject of plural marriage, the priesthood is intimately interwoven.
It is the priesthood which produces the peace, harmony, good order,
and everything which make us as a people peculiar, and for which our
Territory has become remarkable. It is that principle--the priesthood,
which governs the heavenly hosts. God and Jesus rule through this
power, and through it we are made, so for as we have received it and
rendered obedience to its mandates, like our Heavenly Father and God.
He is our Father and our God. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ; He is the Father of all the inhabitants of the earth, and we
inherit His divinity, if we choose to seek for and cultivate it. We
inherit His attributes; we can, by taking the proper course, inherit
the priesthood by which He exercises control; by which the heavenly
orbs in the immensity of space are governed, and by which the earth
revolves in its seasons. It is the Holy Priesthood that controls all
the creations of the Gods, and though men fight against it, and, if
they could, would blot it out of existence, it will prevail and go
on increasing in power and strength until the sceptre of Jesus is
acknowledged by all, and the earth is redeemed and sanctified.

That this day may be brought about speedily, is my prayer in the name
of Jesus, Amen.

Transcriber's Note:

Some obvious typographical errors have been corrected as seemed reasonable.
Throughout the source text practice is spelled as both "practice" and
"practise." This inconsistency has been preserved in this electronic

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