Bushman’s Perspective on Polygamy, Alger, and Snow

Thanks to Tara, my recent post announcing my perspective on polygamy has received a recent boost of activity (and is my most commented post ever on this blog, currently with 97 comments.)  We had been discussing some of the more controversial aspects of polygamy:  (1) Was Joseph’s polygamy revelation really a disguise for his real motive as a womanizer (libertine)? (2) What is the true nature of the Fanny Alger relationship?  (3) Was Eliza Snow pushed down the stairs by Emma?  Let’s look at how does Richard Bushman, author of Rough Stone Rolling sees these issues.

(1)  Was Joseph a Libertine?

I have never been especially fond of this position, and neither is Bushman.  I don’t think it adequately explains Joseph’s actions.  From page 323,

One of Emma’s cousins by marriage, Levi Lewis, said Martin Harris spoke of Joseph’s attempt to seduce Elizabeth Winters, a friend of Emma’s in Harmony.  But the reports are tenuous.  Harris said nothing of the event in his many descriptions of Joseph, nor did Winters herself when interviewed much later.  Considering how eager the Palmyra neighbors were to besmirch Joseph’s character, their minimal mention of moral lapses suggests libertinism was not part of his New York reputation.

Was he a blackguard covering his lusts with religious pretensions, or a prophet doggedly adhering to instructions from heaven, or something in between?

Rumors of Mormon sexual license were circulating by 1835, when an “Article on Marriage” published in the Doctrine and Covenants said that Church members had been “reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy.”  Coming from faithful Mormons, this evidence of marital irregularities cannot be ignored, but neither can it be taken at face value.  From the Munster Anabaptists of the sixteenth century to the camp meetings of the nineteenth, critics expected sexual improprieties from religious enthusiasts.  Marital experiments by contemporary radical sects increased the suspicions.  John Humphrey Noyes, founder of the Oneida community, concluded that “there is no more reason why sexual intercourse should be restricted by law, than why eating and drinking should be.”  With old barriers coming down, people were on the lookout for aberrations.  What, if anything, lay behind the accusations of the Mormons is uncertain.  They were apparently on edge themselves; the seventies resolved to expel their members guilty of polygamy.

… page 325

On that principle, the date when plural marriage was begun will remain uncertain.  Todd Compton, putting the evidence together in his massive history, concluded that Joseph Smith began practicing plural marriage around 1833.  The sources offer conflicting testimony on when the principle was revealed.  When a plural marriage revelation written down in 1843, it referred to a question about Old Testament polygamy:  “You have enquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I the Lord justified my servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; also as to Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines.”  Joseph frequently inquired about biblical practices while revising the scriptures, and it seems possible that he received the revelation on plural marriage in 1831 while working on the Old Testament.

Because plural marriage was so sexually charged, the practice has provoked endless speculation about Joseph’s motives.  Was he a libertine in the guise of a prophet seducing women for his own pleasure?  The question can never be answered definitively from historical sources, but the language he used to describe marriage is known.  Joseph did not explain plural marriage as a love match or even a companionship.  Only slight hints of romance found its way into his proposals.  He understood plural marriage as a religious principle….As Joseph described the practice to [Levi] Hancock, plural marriage had the millennial purpose of fashioning a righteous generation on the eve of the Second Coming.

… page 437

Joseph exercised such untrammeled authority in Nauvoo that it is possible to imagine him thinking no conquest beyond his reach.  In theory, he could take what he wanted and browbeat his followers with threats of divine punishment.

This simple reading of Joseph’s motives is implicit in descriptions of him as “a charismatic, handsome man.”  They suggest he was irresistible and made the most of it.  Other Mormon men went along the way out of loyalty or in hopes of sharing power.  But missing from that picture is Joseph’s sense of himself.  In public and private, he spoke and acted as if guided by God.  All the doctrines, plans, programs, and claims were ,in his mind, the mandates of heaven.  They came to him as requirements, with a kind of irresistible certainty….

page 438,

The possibility of an imaginary revelation, erupting from his own heart and subconscious mind, seems not to have occurred to Joseph.  To him, the words came from heaven.  They required obedience even though the demand seemed contradictory or wrong.  The possibility of deception did not occur to him….

Joseph never wrote his personal feelings about plural marriage.  Save for the revelation given in the voice of God, everything on the subject comes from people around him.  But surely he realized that plural marriage would inflict terrible damage, that he ran the risk of wrecking his marriage and alienating his followers.  How could faithful Emma, to whom he pledged his love in every letter, accept additional wives?…Sexual excess was considered the all too common fruit of pretended revelation.  Joseph’s enemies would delight in one more evidence of a revelator’s antinomian transgressions.

… page 440

The personal anguish caused by plural marriage did not stop Joseph Smith from marrying more women.  He married three in 1841, eleven in 1842, and seventeen in 1843.  Historians debate these numbers, but the total figure is most likely between twenty-eight and thirty-three.  Larger numbers have been proposed based on the sealing records in the Nauvoo temple.  Eight additional women were sealed to Joseph in the temple after his death, possibly implying a marriage while he was still alive.  Whatever the exact number, the marriages are numerous enough to indicate an impersonal bond.  Joseph did not marry women to form a warm, human companionship, but to create a network of related wives, children, and kinsmen that would endure into the eternities…. He did not lust for women so much as he lusted for kin.

I found this last statement especially intriguing, because there is no DNA evidence that Joseph had any kin from wives other than Emma.

continuing on page 440,

Romance played only a slight part.  In making proposals, Joseph would sometimes say God had given a woman to him, or they were meant for each other, but there was no romantic talk of adoring love.  He did not court his prospective wives by first trying to win their affections.  Often, he asked a relative–a father or an uncle–to propose the marriage.  Sometimes one of his current wives proposed for him.  When he made the proposal himself, a friend like Brigham Young was often present.  The language was religious and doctrinal, stressing that a new law has been revealed.  She was to seek spiritual confirmation.  Once consent was given, a formal ceremony was performed before witnesses, with Joseph dictating the words to the person officiating.

Joseph himself said nothing about sex in these marriages.  Other marriage experimenters in Joseph’s time focused on sexual relations.  The Shakers repudiated marriage altogether, considering sex beastly and unworthy of a millenial people….

page 441

We might expect that Joseph, the kind of dominant man who is thought to have strong libidinal urges, would betray his sexual drive in his talk and manner.  Bred outside the rising genteel culture, he was not inhibited by Victorian prudery.  But references to sexual pleasure are infrequent.  Years later, William Law, Joseph’s counselor in the First Presidency, said he was shocked to hear Joseph say one of his wives “afforded him great pleasure.”  That report is one of the few, and the fact that it shocked Law suggests that such comments were infrequent.  As Fawn Brodie said, “There was too much of the Puritan” in Joseph for him to be a “careless libertine.”

What was the nature of the Fanny Alger relationship?

Some people have wondered if Alger was ever pregnant.  Bushman says there is no good evidence of this position.  Many people often quote Oliver Cowdery (as does Bushman) as referring to the “dirty, nasty, filthy affair.”  First, let’s provide some background on Alger.  From pages 323-327,

Alger was fourteen when her family joined the Church in Mayfield, near Kirtland, in 1830.  In 1836, after a time as a serving girl in the Smith household, she left Kirtland and soon married.  Between those two dates, perhaps as early as 1831, she and Joseph were reportedly involved, but conflicting accounts make it difficult to establish the facts–much less to understand Joseph’s thoughts.

… page 324

Cowdery, long Joseph’s friend and associate in visions, was a casualty of the bad times.  In 1838, he was charged with “seeking to destroy the character of President Joseph Smith jr by falsly insinuating that he was guilty of adultry &c.”  Fanny Alger’s name was never mentioned, but doubtless she was the woman in question.

The Far West court did not accuse Joseph of being involved with Alger.  Some councilors had heard the rumors, but concluded they were untrue.  They were concerned only with Cowdery’s insinuations.  He was on trial for false accusations, not Joseph for adultery.  David Patten, an apostle, “went to Oliver Cowdery to enquire of him if a certain story was true respecting J. Smith’s committing adultery with a certain girl, when he turned on his heel and insinuated as though he was guilty.”  Thomas Marsh, another apostle, reported a similar experience.  “Oliver Cowdery cocked up his eye very knowingly and hesitated to answer the question, saying he did not know as he was bound to answer the question yet conveyed the idea that it was true.”  George Harris testified that in conversation between Cowdery and Joseph the previous November, Cowdery “seemed to insinuate that Joseph Smith jr was guilty of adultery.”  Eventually the court concluded that Cowdery had made false accusations, and cut him off from the church.

Cowdery denied that he had lied about Joseph and Alger.  Cowdery had heard accusations against him when he wrote to Joseph in January 1838.  “I learn from Kirtland, by the last letters, that you have publickly said, that when you were here I confessed to you that I had willfully lied about you.”  He demanded that Joseph retract the statement.  In a letter to his brother Warren, Cowdery insisted he would never dishonor the family name by lying about anything, much less about the Smiths, whom he had always defended.  In his conversation with Joseph, Cowdery asserted, “in every instance, I did not fail to affirm that what I had said was strictly true,” meaning he believed Joseph did have an affair.  His insinuations were not lies but the truth as he understood it.

Cowdery and Joseph aired their differences at a meeting in November 1837 where Joseph did not deny his relationship with Alger, but contended that he had never confessed to adultery.  Cowdery apparently had said otherwise, but backed down at the November meeting.  When the question was put to Cowdery “if he [Joseph] had ever acknowledged to him that he was guilty of such a thing…he answered No.”  That was all Joseph wanted: an admission that he had not termed the Alger affair adulterous.  As Cowdery told his brother, “just before leaving, he [Joseph] wanted to drop every past thing, in which had been a difficulty or difference–he called witnesses to the fact, gave me his hand in their presence, and I might have supposed of an honest man, calculated to say nothing of former matters.

These scraps of testimony recorded within a few years of the Alger business show how differently the various parties understood events…. On his part, Joseph never denied a relationship with Alger, but insisted it was not adulterous.  He wanted it on record that he had never confessed to such a sin.  Presumably, he felt innocent because he had married Alger.

After the Far West council excommunicated Cowdery, Alger disappears from the Mormon historical record for a quarter of a century.  Her story was recorded as many as sixty years later by witnesses who had strong reason to take sides.  Surprisingly, they all agree that Joseph married Fanny Alger as a plural wife.

Mosiah Hancock wrote in the 1890s about Joseph engaging Levi Hancock, Mosiah’s father, to ask Alger’s parents for permission to marry.  Levi Hancock was Alger’s uncle and an appropriate go-between.  He talked with Alger’s father, then her mother, and finally to Fanny herself, and all three consented.  As in many subsequent plural marriages, Joseph did not steal away the prospective bride.  He approached the parents first to ask for their daughter’s hand.  Hancock performed the ceremony, repeating the words Joseph dictated to him.  The whole process was formal and, in a peculiar way, old-fashioned.

Most of the other stories about Joseph’s plural marriage in Kirtland come from one individual without confirmation from a second source.  Ann Eliza, for example, included a story of Fanny being ejected by a furious Emma, one of the few scraps of information about her reaction.  Ann Eliza could not have been an eyewitness because she was not yet born, but she might have heard the story from her parents who were close to the Smiths.  Are such accounts to be believed?  One of the few tales that appears in more than one account was of Oliver Cowdery experimenting with plural wives himself, contrary to Joseph’s counsel.  That pattern of followers marrying prematurely without authorization was repeated later when some of Joseph’s followers used the doctrine of plural marriage as a license for marrying at will.  Stories like these, all of them partisan, must be treated with caution.

… page 437

After marrying Fanny Alger sometime before 1836, Joseph, it appears, married no one else until he wed Louisa Beaman on April 5, 1841, in Nauvoo.  (Historian debate the possibility of one other wife in the interim.)

… page 326

The end of Joseph’s relationship with Fanny Alger is as elusive as the beginning.  After leaving Kirtland in September 1836, Alger, reportedly a comely, amiable person, had no trouble remarrying.  Joseph asked her uncle Hancock to take her to Missouri, but she went with her parents instead.  They stopped in Indiana for a season, and while there she married Solomon Custer, a non-Mormon listed in the censuses as a grocer, baker, and merchant.  When her parents moved on, Alger remained in Indiana with her husband.  She bore nine children.  After Joseph’s death, Alger’s brother asked her about her relationship with the Prophet.  She replied:  “That is all a matter of my–own.  And I have nothing to Communicate.”

Was Eliza Snow pushed down the stairs?

Bushman doesn’t think so.  From page 493,

One story told in Utah in the 1880s had Emma pushing one of Mormondom’s most honored women, Eliza Roxcy Snow, down the stairs upon discovering she was married to Joseph, but the evidence for the incident is shaky.  Snow was a refined, intelligent woman who had been brought into the Smith household to teach their children.  She joined the Mormons in 1835 along with her sister Leonora and moved to Kirtland, where she boarded with the Smiths and taught school.  Slender and ramrod straight, Snow was the most intellectual of all the women converts.  She wrote poetry and prepared a constitution for the Female Relief Society.  Repelled at first by the practice of plural marriage, she concluded that she was “living in the dispensation of the fulness of times, embracing all the other Dispensations,” and so “surely Plural Marriage must necessarily be included.”  Brigham Young performed the ceremony for Joseph and Eliza on June 29, 1842.  She was thirty-eight, two years older than Joseph.  She later spoke of him as “my beloved husband, the choice of my heart and the crown of my life.”

In August 1842, Emma invited Eliza to move back into the Smith household.  In December, Eliza began teaching the Smith children and ran a school for them and others until March 1843.  Eliza noted in her diary that on February 11, 1843, while still teaching, she moved out of the Smiths’ house without saying why, though the reason could well be that on the same day, Joseph’s mother, Lucy Mack Smith, moved in.  Later gossip blamed Emma.  All the versions of the Eliza story, however, were attenuated.  Most of them were tales told many decades after the fact and were second- or third-hand hearsay.  Some had Emma pushing Eliza, others said she beat her.  None hold up under scrutiny.  They have to be read skeptically because of the widespread dislike for Emma among the Utah Mormons.  Brigham Young never forgave her for breaking with the Church and not coming west.  She was considered a traitor to Mormonism because she remained behind and denied, in carefully worded statements that skirted the truth, that Joseph took additional wives.  When her sons, then leaders of a rival branch of Mormonism, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, came to Utah on missions in the 1860s, they tried to trace and discredit every claim that Joseph had multiple wives.  In response, the Utah church secured scores of affidavits from people who knew of the practice in Nauvoo.  Besides proving the existence of plural marriage, the affidavits attempted to refute the hypothesis that Joseph’s relations with his plural wives were purely spiritual.  Some members of the Reorganized Church accepted ceremonial marriages but thought Joseph never slept with his wives.  To rebut that view, the affidavits noted the occasions when Joseph occupied the same room with a wife, facts that might have been omitted had not the Utah Mormons been determined to prove the Joseph and his plural wives were married as completely as the later polygamists under Brigham Young.

Bushman gives so much detail, that it is hard to cover every aspect in a single post.  But, given this information, what do you make of Smith’s practice of polygamy?  Are you comfortable with it?

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108 comments on “Bushman’s Perspective on Polygamy, Alger, and Snow

  1. CDS:

    A point of clarification. The Price’s are fundamentalist RLDS who are one of the first groups that broke away from the RLDS church about 4 prophets ago, long before the RLDS changed its name to Community of Christ. Their group has been known at other times as Restoration Festival, and has spawned a number of “independent Restoration branches” and similar groups, especially in the Independence area over the last several decades. You can always fell because their quotes always end at about the same time in history — with Israel A. Smith, the Prophet when I was a boy.

  2. FD, I wouldn’t say that familysearch is worthless, but certainly the information there needs to be verified. From what I see, the information about Joseph Smith is corroborated in other sources, so I’d say that in regards to Joseph Smith, it is pretty accurate. However, the information there about other people certainly needs to be verified from other sources.

  3. I just came across this link to a basketball player named Lance Allred who grew up in the FLDS church, but left when he was 13. He is 75% deaf but went on to play in the NBA for the Cleveland Cavaliers last year. If you click on the video on the page, he talks a little about his experience in the FLDS church.

    Check it out at http://www.abc4.com/sports/story/Lance-Allred-a-true-longshot/pUeuO9Gv3EiwhOIik84AVg.cspx?rss=24

  4. Faithful Dissident has an interesting continuation of this topic with her post, What would you do if polygamy came back?

  5. […] on polygamy. (See My perspective on polygamy— he also has the same post at Mormon Matters— and Bushman’s Perspective on Polygamy, Alger and Snow.) I was impressed by the number of comments that both posts contained. Granted, these comments were […]

  6. […] may remember my earlier post outlining My Perspective on Polygamy, as well as Bushman’s perspective.  I must say that I was very uncomfortable with many of these aspects (and I still am.)  Daynes […]

  7. Christian Wedlock.

    Can a woman have more than two husbands?

    No, a woman cannot have more than two living husbands. A man has no choice, as he must be in wedlock with one living wife. But a woman has three choices. Firstly, no wedlock with a husband. Secondly, wedlock with one husband. Or thirdly, wedlock with two husbands. That’s it, there are no further choices for a woman, and there is no choice at all for a man.

    1 Corinthians 7:2 King James 1611.
    Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

    Yr. 1783. 10th George Prince of Wales Own Hussars. (King George III).
    Yr. 1898. 19th Alexandra Princess of Wales Own Hussars. (Queen Victoria).

    Therefore two women can own a regiment of cavalry, and two men can own a regiment of cavalry.

    1 Corinthians 6:16 King James 1611.
    What! know ye not that he which is joined to a harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

    Therefore in the New Testament a man and woman lying together are one flesh, as follows:

    A husband and wife who lie together by carnal copulation shall be one flesh.

    A fornicator and fornicatress who lie together by carnal copulation shall be one flesh.

    A man and common courtesan or common prostitute who lie together by carnal copulation shall be one flesh.

    (A common prostitute is a woman who commonly offers her body for acts of lewdness for payment. An act of lewdness can never be an act of carnal copulation, as it is blasphemy to state that the Angel Gabriel and Mary committed a lewd act. The common law of england states that it is impossible for any woman to be a prostitute under any circumstances, but that a woman may continue on to be a common prostitute.).

    A fornicator/fornicatress and adulterer/adultress who lie together by carnal copulation shall be one flesh.

    An adulterer and adultress who lie together by carnal copulation shall be one flesh.

    Clearly the New Testament lays down that a man must be in wedlock with his own wife, and a woman must be in wedlock with her own husband. Furthermore the New Testament specifically limits the number of wives that a man can have to only one, but sets no limit to the number of husbands a woman can have. But there must be some limit for a woman, or one woman could be in wedlock with thousands of men. Rationally, if one woman can satisfy the bodily lust of one man every day, and forty men can satisfy the bodily lust of one woman every day, then is one wife for every man and forty husbands for every woman what the New Testament requires? No, because the New Testament is a document of truth, not a document of reason.

    Luke 1:28 King James 1611.
    Luke 1:31 King James 1611.
    Luke 1:28-35 King James 1611.
    In the New Testament, the Angel Gabriel came in unto Mary, a virgin woman, and Mary conceived and delivered her firstborn son, Jesus, the son being God the Son. And when Mary’s womb delivered her firstborn son Jesus unto the world, then Mary was like all women delivered of a firstborn son unto the world, as a woman’s firstborn son can never belong to the mother but must belong to the Lord God.

    Luke 2:23 King James 1611.
    Exodus 13:2&12 King James 1611.
    And so like all women delivered of a firstborn son, Mary was no longer a virgin woman, but like all said women, Mary was a holy woman.

    Matthew 13:53-56 King James 1611.
    Mark 6:1-4 King James 1611.
    And husband Joseph Jacob came in unto Mary and husband Joseph Heli came in unto Mary, and Mary conceived and delivered Jesus’ brothers, James, Joses, Simon, Judas, and also Jesus’ sisters.

    Matthew 1:6&16 King James 1611.
    Luke 3:23&31 King James 1611.
    Joseph Jacob was the descendent of King David’s son Solomon, and Joseph Heli was the descendent of King David’s son Nathan.

    Genesis 38:16-18 King James 1611.
    “Came in unto her” means congress or carnal copulation. In the Old Testament, Judah came in unto Tamar, his daughter-in-law, and Tamar conceived and delivered twin sons. Tamar had lain in wait for Judah on the side of a far away road, and Judah had been unable to recognize Tamar because she was wearing a veil, and only common harlots wore veils. Upon first seeing this strange woman wearing a veil, Judah bargained a future payment of a kid from his flock, and therefore gave as his pledge, his personal signet ring, his personal wrist bangles, and his personal walking staff, for coming in unto her. Tamar had been in wedlock with Judah’s first son, who God had killed for being wicked. Tamar had then been in wedlock with Judah’s second son, who God had then killed when he saw the second son deliberately spill his seed on the ground during carnal copulation with Tamar.

    That was because if Tamar was made with child by the second son, and if such child was a baby son born of Tamar, then under the law of the Hebrews that baby son born of Tamar was the first born baby son of the dead first son, and not any baby son of the second son, despite Tamar having conceived that baby son with the second son. This meant that if a dead man had no son, but still had a widow and a brother, then the widow and the brother should ignore consanguinity, and if the brother was already in wedlock, bigamy, in order to give the dead man a first born son.

    (The ancient Hebrews were a people of eastern civilization who accordingly rejected the concept of demos, and therefore practiced bigamy by the males. The ancient Greeks were a people of western civilization who accordingly accepted the concept of demos, and therefore practiced either monandry or diandry by the females.).

    Upon the death of his second son, Judah had ordered his daughter-in-law Tamar not to marry again, because Judah promised Tamar that she would marry his third son when he became old enough for wedlock. But when his third son became old enough to marry, Judah broke his promise and forbade his third son to marry Tamar. When Tamar was seen in her third month to be heavy with child, Judah was told that Tamar was with child through harlotry. Judah then summoned Tamar to him in order to be burnt to death for harlotry, although it was against the law to put a woman to death for harlotry. Tamar came and produced the signet ring, the wrist bangles, and the walking staff, and said the man who gave me these is the man by whom I am with child. Then Judah confessed to all that he had broken his promise and sinned by going back on his word that Tamar would have wedlock with his third son when his third son became of age, and then denying such wedlock to her.

    Six months later Tamar safely gave birth to the twin sons conceived with Judah and the midwife tied a red thread around the son’s hand which first appeared out of the womb. But then the hand was withdrawn into the womb and the second son, Pharez, without the red thread was born first, and the first son, Zarah, with the red thread was born second.

    Ruth 4:18-22 King James 1611.
    King David of Israel and Judah was descended from Pharez, and the red hand flag of the Ulstans and Scots shows the Red Hand of Zarah. The red hand is often shown on a white six pointed star, but it is not clear whether this star is a Star of Pharez (Star of David) or just a Star of Ulster.

    Genesis 1:27-28 King James 1611.
    Genesis 2:7&18-19 King James 1611.
    Genesis 3:20 King James 1611.
    The first man and first woman in this world were Adam and Eve. Adam means “man” in the hebrew tongue, and Eve means “life” in the hebrew tongue. Therefore a man is man, but a woman is life.

    Romans 7:4-6 King James 1611.
    Old Testament law dead and gives as an example that a woman can have more than one husband.

    1 Timothy 3:2 King James 1611.
    A bishop can have only one wife, and as he must be an example to other men, a man can have only one wife.

    1 Timothy 3:12 King James 1611.
    A deacon can have only one wife, and as he must be an example to other men, a man can have only one wife.

    Titus 1:6 King James 1611.
    An elder can have only one wife.

    1 Timothy 5:4&9   King James 1611.
    Elders are not to provide for widows under three score years of age who have daughters or sons, as the children must provide for their mother.

    The Estate of Marriage. Martin Luther 1522.
    Although Martin Luther confirmed that a woman could have two husbands, he nevertheless immediately restricted it to women who were in a marriage which had produced no children and who had then obtained permission from their first husband to take their second husband. Confusingly, Martin Luther did not make it clear as to how long a woman had to wait before taking her second husband.

    To sum up, the New Testament upholds the example of deacons, elders, and bishops, for men to follow. That example is one wife. The New Testament also lays down that the Old Testament no longer applies to men or women, except for the 10 Commandments, and gives as an example of this that a woman is no longer bound to have only one husband. If men must follow the example of the male Christian leader in marriage, whether bishop, deacon, or elder, then surely women must follow the example of the female Christian leader in marriage. What leader is that? The primary one in the New Testament is Mary, the Mother of Jesus, God the Son.

    Luke 1:15&35&41 King James 1611.
    Mary had carnal copulation with three men. The Angel Gabriel, Joseph Jacob, and Joseph Heli. However, Mary was only in wedlock with two men, Joseph Jacob, and Joseph Heli. Furthermore, the Angel Gabriel was not a man of this world, and he seems not to have taken a fully visible male form when he had carnal copulation with Mary as ordered by God the Father, for it appears that at some stage God the Holy Ghost came upon or entered Mary. Either this was at the moment Mary conceived or immediately afterwards. After Mary conceived, she immediately went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who was six months with child, a son, who also had been conceived when Elisabeth had been filled by God the Holy Ghost.

    Accordingly it would be fully in accordance with the New Testament for a man to have one wife, and a woman to have two husbands. That the Angel Gabriel had carnal copulation with Mary is both interesting and theologically necessary, but it is not enough of an example for a woman to attempt to take a third husband in wedlock, whilst her first and second husbands still liveth.

    Matthew 19:11-12 King James 1611.
    1 Corinthians 9:5 King James 1611.
    The New Testament does not give man any choice; he must have wedlock with one woman. But do bear in mind that Jesus, God the Son, was never in wedlock with any woman, despite all Jesus’ Twelve Disciples being or having been in wedlock with a woman.

    But the New Testament gives a woman three choices.

    1st Choice:
    Virgin woman without wedlock.

    2nd Choice:
    Virgin woman with one husband in wedlock without child.
    Virgin woman with one husband in wedlock with female child or female children.
    Holy woman with one husband in wedlock with firstborn male child.
    Holy woman with one husband in wedlock with male child or children together with female child or children.

    3rd Choice:
    Holy woman with two husbands in wedlock with firstborn male child.
    Holy woman with two husbands in wedlock with male child or children together with female child or children.

    A number of denominations have a service for wedlock, but so far every one of them has inserted words that clearly say a woman may be in wedlock with only one man at a time. Even the State Lutheran Evangelical Church of Sweden states this, despite Martin Luther himself saying that a wife can be in wedlock with two living husbands.

    But what do you expect. After all, Martin Luther stated in writing that under no circumstances was anyone to call himself a “Lutheran” and under no circumstances was any church to call itself a “Lutheran Church”. So what do all northern europeans called themselves? Lutherans! Ask them what church they belong to? The Lutheran Church!

    A number of denominations do not have any service for wedlock, on the grounds that wedlock is not a church matter, as it is a state matter. But every such denomination has nevertheless inserted words in that denomination’s discussion of wedlock, that firmly says that a woman can only have one husband in wedlock at a time.

    Nowhere do any of the denominations give any explanation for their defiance of the New Testament. Of course that just might be because there is neither any justifiable explanation or excusable explanation for such defiance.

    Still, just looking at using only the principle of choice as a guide, all the above denominations are pointing in the right direction, even if they are not pointing down the correct path.

    That is, a man has no choice, he must make efforts to be in wedlock with one wife at some stage of his life here in this world.

    And a woman still has a choice, in that she may choose not to be in wedlock with a man in this world, or she may choose to be in wedlock with one husband at some stage of her life here in this world. This means that the principle of a woman having a choice remains intact.

    The defiance of both the Lord God and the New Testament by the various denominations by the removal of a woman’s option to make efforts to be in wedlock with two husbands at the same time at some stage of her life in this world, still leaves intact the principle of choice for the woman and no choice for the man.

    Constitution of The Spartans (Xenophon). 388 B.C.
    League of The Iroquois (Lewis Henry Morgan). 1851 A.D.
    Only two non-christian groups in the world have been known to practice New Testament wedlock. The Spartans and the Mohawk.

    Only monandry and diandry, or New Testament style wedlock, was lawful among the Spartans, citizens of the greatest of the greek city-states, Sparta, and history’s final saviours of Western Civilization at Thermopylae (The Hot Gates) in 480 B.C.

    And only monandry and diandry, or New Testament style wedlock, was lawful among the Mohawk, citizens of the greatest of the eastern woodland North American tribes, which forever blocked France’s attempt to seize New York so as to split England’s colonies in twain.

    Not only did spartan women routinely have two husbands at the same time, but Sparta herself always had two kings at the same time, as Sparta had two separate royal families. This dual monarchy (there are no other words to describe it) came from the Agiad Royal Family and the Eurypontid Royal Family.

    Although some greek city-states had matrilineal descent, Sparta had patrilineal descent like most greek city-states. Accordingly a Spartan woman practicing monandry would give patrilineal descent at birth to her daughters and to her sons from her living sole husband at nine months previously. A Spartan woman practicing diandry would give patrilineal descent at birth to her old daughters from her living old husband at nine months perviously, give patrilineal descent at birth to her old sons from her living old husband at nine months previously, and give patrilineal descent at birth to her new daughters from her old husband at nine months previously. But a Spartan woman practicing diandry would give patrilineal descent at birth to her new sons from her living new husband at nine months previously.

    Much criticism of both the Spartans and the Mohawk, has been leveled by outsiders who complain of the extreme freedom of the females and the extreme militarism of the males. It must be noted that there is no record of any Spartan male, Spartan female, Mohawk male, or Mohawk female, complaining of female freedom or male militarism.

    Whatever your point of view on Spartan life or Mohawk life, the New Testament lays down cast-iron guidelines for wedlock. The fact that the New Testament complies with Spartan law and Mohawk law is irrelevant.

    Of absolutely no relevance to this discussion, the symbol of the United States of America is the bald headed eagle, which is a species that uses both monandry and diandry for conception, and where the one male or two males reside in the exactly the same nest as the one female. The one female and either the one male or two males, stay in the nest together and raise the chick together.

    Mark 10:7 King James 1611.
    Ephesians 5:31 King James 1611.
    Both husbands must leave their families to go and become a member of the wife’s family, or the one husband must leave his family to go and become a member of the wife’s family.



    1st. If any person within this Government of The Mohawk shall by direct, exprest, impious, or presumptuous ways, deny the true God and his Attributes; he shall be put to death.

    2nd. If any person within this Government of The Mohawk shall maliciously and on purpose deny that any Mohawk person may have arms for his defence suitable to his condition and as allowed by law; he shall be put to death.

    3rd. If any man shall traitorously deny his Clanmother’s right and titles to her Eagle Feathers and Dominions, or shall raise arms to resist her Authority; he shall be put to death.

    4th. If any man shall treacherously conspire or publiquely attempt, to invade or surprise any town or towns, fort or forts, within this Government of the Mohawk; he shall be put to death.

    5th. If any man lyeth with a man or mankind as he lyeth with a woman; they shall be put to death, unless the one party were forced or under fourteen years of age, in which case he shall not be punished.

    6th. If any man or woman shall lye with any beast or brute creature by carnal copulation; they shall be put to death, and the beast shall be burned.

    7th. If any person shall bear false witness maliciously and on purpose to take away any person’s life; he shall be put to death.

    8th. If any person shall slay, or cause another to be slain by guile or by poisoning or any such wicked conspiracy; he shall be put to death.

    9th. If any person shall commit any willful murder, which is manslaughter, committed upon malice, hatred, or cruelty, not in a person’s necessary or just defence, nor by mere casualty against his will; he shall be put to death.

    10th. If any person shall geld any man or mankind to take away generative power or virility; he shall be put to death.

    11th. If any person shall geld any woman or womankind; he shall be put to death.

    12th. If any man forcibly stealth or carrieth away any woman or womankind; he shall be put to death.

    13th. If any marryed man shall maliciously and on purpose claim wedlock with a woman, other than his one wife; he shall be put to death.

    14th. If any marryed woman shall maliciously and on purpose claim wedlock with a man, other than her two husbands or one husband; she shall be put to death.

    15th. If any unmarryed man above twentyeight years of age and under fortytwo years of age shall maliciously and on purpose refuse wedlock for over fourteen days with any marryed woman under sixtythree years of age, said marryed woman having borne a son, or unmarryed woman under sixtythree years of age; he shall be put to death.

    16th. If any person shall maliciously and on purpose deny any marryed woman wedlock with two husbands, said marryed woman having borne a son, or any unmarryed woman wedlock with one husband; he shall be put to death.

    17th. If any child, above sixteen years of age, and of sufficient understanding, shall smite his Natural Mother or Lodgemother, unless thereunto provoked and foret for the self preservation from death or mayming, then at the complaint of the said Mother and Lodgemother, and not otherwise, they being sufficient witnesses thereof; that child so offending shall be put to death.

    18th. If any stubborn and rebellious son, above sixteen years of age, and of sufficient understanding, shall not obey the voice of his Natural Mother or Lodgemother, and that when the said Mother or Lodgemother have chastened such son will not hearken unto them, then at the complaint of the said Mother and Lodgemother, and not otherwise, they being sufficient witnesses thereof; that son so offending shall be put to death.

    19th. If any man shall lye with a woman by carnal copulation, such woman not being his one wife; he shall be whipt thirteen strokes, unless he hath his Natural Mother or Lodgemother authority, in which case he shall not be punished.

    20th. If any woman shall lye with a man by carnal copulation, such man not being one of her two husbands or her one husband; she shall be whipt three strokes, unless she hath her Natural Mother or Lodgemother authority, in which case she shall not be punished.

  8. peachperry, what is your source on the Mohawk laws, please?

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