General Conference
Second Day Afternoon, Oct. 7

Elder Orson Pratt said he had been requested to preach upon the subject of marriage.  He did not think any one who believed in the Scriptures would pretend to deny that marriage was a divine institution. To prove what God did in the days of Moses, he referred to the 21st chap. Of Exodus, where a law was given to a polygamic nation.  He hoped that pious Christians in this congregation would not find fault with their own Bibles this afternoon.  He hoped also they would not complain that those ancient men of God who were polygamists were now citizens in the Kingdom of God, not damned and cast out on account of their polygamy.  Neither should they complain if God should see fit to reveal the same law to be observed in our day.

In order to show that the polygamous practice continued with the house of Israel, he turned to the 21st and 25th chapters of Deuteronomy, where a law was given that a man was to marry the widow of his deceased brother.  He also proved that the laws on polygamy given in the days of Moses, like those on honesty, uprightness, etc., were not abrogated by the Savior, but were just as binding after as before his coming.  He spoke also on the penalty that attached to those who rejected or refused to obey the law of polygamy, which was a universal reproach by all Israel.

When God commenced to usher in the last dispensation, and to restore all things which he had spoken by his servants the prophets since the world began, the law of polygamy would have to come with all the other things, and the Christian believer, to be consistent, must either abandon the Bible as a divine record, or admit the law of polygamy to be a Bible doctrine.

He then spoke of the subject in reference to its existence among the Latter-day Saints.  The reason why it was practiced among us was because God commanded us to observe it, and gave revelation concerning it, and we believed it.  Why should not God give laws in our day, pertaining to family relations, as well as in the days of Moses?

He always thought, when a boy, that any one had a right to believe and practice Bible doctrine in this land of freedom, but it seemed that men had passed laws which prohibited the observance of one law, that of polygamy, on pain of heavy penalties.  Should we therefore obey God or man?

He then delivered a prophecy that every man or woman who rejected polygamy would go into darkness and lose the Spirit of God and finally be damned.

He dwelt on the subject in reference to its future state.  All the ordinances of the gospel had a bearing upon our future condition.  Marriage being a divine institution, no persons joined together by a civil magistrate were legally married in the sight of God, neither were their children legal heirs, though they were so regarded, according to the laws of all Christian countries.  He regretted that some of our young people, professing to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had actually been married by a justice of the peace only, which severed their relation as man and wife when death did them part.  Not so with those who were married under divine authority for time and all eternity.  Their relationship would never be dissolved.

He closed his remarks with a vivid description of the New Jerusalem, on those gates would be inscribed the names of twelve polygamous children.

[Deseret News, 23:577]
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 7, 1874, 1-2]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Sept. 2006]

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