Sunday, November 7, 2021

Doctrine and Covenants 129-132

Section 130 contains one of my favorite scriptures of all time:

"There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated--and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated" (D&C 130:20-21).

I love how this scripture teaches that God rewards those who keep His laws, even if they do not know they are keeping God's laws. Many people consider they are being rewarded by "the universe" or by the "Law of Attraction," but they are merely receiving the fruits of obeying the laws set in motion by God. He loves all His children and provides means for them to learn His laws and obtain as much happiness as they are willing to receive. His children in all cultures and times learn a measure of these laws as they see the results. I love knowing that we are not the only people who are blessed by keeping God's laws.

God rewards those who keep His laws even if those laws are temporary, as in the case of plural marriage. This was an extremely difficult commandment to obey, and many people obeyed it even though doing so demanded that they give up some of their dearest hopes and dreams.

For Section 132 and the practice of plural marriage in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I point to contributions by three women scholars--one in a written essay, one in an audio podcast, and one in a YouTube video. All three have come to the same conclusion after their studies on the subject--that polygamy was a temporary exception to the Lord's law of monogamy, an "Abrahamic sacrifice"--and I invite you to choose any one of the three to read, hear, or watch. 

Valerie Hudson Cassler, "Polygamy," Square Two Journal: Volume 3, Number 10, Spring 2010

Kate Holbrook, "Follow Him" podcast, with Hank Smith & John Bytheway, November 6, 2021

Lynne Hilton Wilson, "Hard Questions in Church History, Episode 46b: The Law of Plural Marriage," Doctrine & Covenants Central, October 28, 2021

I have great-grandmothers in my family tree who were second or third wives in polygamous families. Their lives were very difficult, but they still experienced the blessings of the gospel and the joy of the Saints. Their children were great blessings to them and grew to live righteous and faithful lives. These women lived as they believed and were blessed by the Lord for their sacrifices. I honor their lives. I wouldn't trade places with them, however I'm not sure they would trade places with me. Each of us has our own challenges in this life, but one thing is sure: the Lord blesses us as we seek to obey his commandments.

I'm grateful that today the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage has reverted to the standard of one man and one woman, and I'm grateful for the sealing power of the temple in making those marriages eternal. I recently discovered this darling photograph in my mother-in-law's photo album, depicting my husband (the oldest child) and his family just after they were sealed in the Logan Temple. I am also grateful that there are so many more temples today that a struggling young family living in Delaware is no longer in the Logan Temple district, and I'm so happy that 134 more temples are being built or planned in the world today.

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