The Bible is ambiguous on the issue. Most Bible translations read, “For a man or woman who has a husband or is betrothed, if she disobeys his orders and marries another man, she must be put to death and shall be buried; and the husband shall leave her and be separated from his wife.” If the wife is dead, there is no obligation to get remarried; however, she may petition the government for permission to remarry after her death. However, the word “death” (from the Hebrew root word for “slaughter”) indicates that such a petition must not be granted. It applies only to her as the wife of her alleged lover. If either of the two parties is a widower with children, then the husband may remarry.
Why wasn’t Joseph Smith married to all of his wives (and why did he get rid of his first marriage?)
Some people think Joseph Smith had multiple marriages because “God wanted to take the wives that God loved and not have to take on all [those] husbands.” He did get rid of the first and second marriage after the Prophet received the revelations that described them. If so, it is likely that the Prophet simply discarded the first and second wives he had because they had not been obedient. Joseph Smith, however, did not marry any of his wives. The Church has done its best to keep track of all of Joseph Smith’s sexual relationships, and he was married only once—to Fanny Alger in 1843. He never married nor did he ever claim to have married any of his other wives. Some have speculated that his marriage to Fanny Alger was merely the beginning of multiple marriages, but the Mormon Church has not published a detailed history of this marriage. Some church members think that Joseph Smith married other women after Fanny, including Fannie Alger and Eliza R. Snow, and that Joseph Smith was not a faithful Latter-day Saint. Another theory is that he married just one or two women, so that all of his sexual relations with women were simply to be taken in stride by God, and this was the beginning of his multiple marriages.
What does the Bible say when it discusses polygamy?
The Bible has a very ambiguous view of the issue. Some Bible translations read, “For a man or woman who have one wife, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she must be put to death and shall be buried; and the husband shall leave her and be separated from his
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