In middle school, I met a friend who became one of my very best in life so far. Upon first meeting her, I didn’t notice anything significantly strange or different about her until I met her family. A few months later, she went on to tell me about their situation; They were an actively practicing polygamist family. My friend expressed to me the disconnect she felt with this lifestyle and how she knew it was not of God. She explained many forms of abuse in different circumstances she had first handedly witnessed. She has since then left her friends and family and everything she grew up with and was surrounded by to escape the harmful environment of polygamy. A few years ago she took missionary discussions with her husband and ended up not getting baptized. To this day, they both say the one thing stopping them is the plural marriage that members of our church practiced during the restoration and establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints while Joseph Smith was prophet.
This is why what we had discussed in my BOM class this week was so meaningful. In the book of Jacob, Jacob confronts his people for practicing plural marriage when not commanded to do so He gives them the law that they are not to marry of have relations with more than one woman. He also gives them the exception which states that unless the Lord commands them to do so “for the purpose of increasing His seed” (referring to members of the church) they will be held responsible for all of the pain and heartache of the women and children under such circumstances. He goes on to talk about women and how God views them in such a beautiful and tender way. The biggest thing I take from this is the reasoning given behind the exception. When Joseph Smith and the members supporting and sustaining him during the early days of the restoring of the church according to this scripture, God commanded Joseph Smith to practice polygamy for this same purpose. Many women and even few young girls were sealed to the prophet in hopes of gaining access to the celestial world when he time came without any of the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse that accompanies polygamist families today.