I’ve recently been studying the book of Revelation, the parts dealing with the Harlot Babylon and the 7-headed Beast. Interesting thing is the Book of Mormon has a great deal to say about the Harlot. It calls her the Great and Abominable Church of the Devil (See 1 Nephi chapters 13 and 14). It tells us that this abominable church was founded after a Jew published a pure version of the Bible and that this corrupted church corrupted this Bible. So, this must have happened sometime after Jesus and Peter. Us Mormons call this the Great Apostasy. Now the apostasy probably started before the church started changing their holy books, but we can see that over time it became full blown. It’s obvious the reason why apostate churches feel the need to change the word of God. Apostasy always leads to changes in doctrines and ordinances. In order for the apostate church to still look valid in the eyes of its members it has to change the words of God to conform with their new doctrines and ordinances.
One fundamental truth which the Bible teaches and which Joseph Smith taught is that God is consistent and his word is consistent. Since this consistency exists, God in scripture often refers us to other scriptures to back up what he’s saying. Here’s one example of this:
“And the great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall be cast down by devouring fire, according as it is spoken by the mouth of Ezekiel the prophet, who spoke of these things, which have not come to pass but surely must, as I live, for abominations shall not reign.”
You won’t find the word “church” in the book of Ezekiel (or the Old Testament for that matter), but you do find the word “abominable” in three verses. One of these verses really sticks out:
“Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more ABOMINABLE than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.”
We find this near the beginning of that chapter:
“Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,”
So Jerusalem is the harlot? Well, she’s one of them, but this chapter makes clear there are two harlots, one is Jerusalem and the other is her older sister Samaria. Jerusalem historically has been the capital of the Jews and Samaria was the capital of the rest of the house of Israel, led by the tribe of Ephraim. If we put this all together we come to conclude that the harlot is the house of Israel. Why is she the harlot? Because she departed from God and went after the traditions of the nations around her and she began serving their gods. Because she did this God withdrew his presence from her and left her to the consequences of her actions (for the full story read Ezekiel 16 and 23). So she was scattered. Ephraim and the other Ten Tribes was the first to scatter and then Judah was scattered in 70 AD after they killed Christ. And they both remained in that condition until the Restoration when Joseph Smith began to gather Ephraim back together. However, they still had too much Gentile blood in them and so they rejected the gospel (D&C 45:28-30). God knew they would do this and so he said that when the Gentiles reject the fulness of his gospel he would take it from them and give it to the house of Israel (3 Nephi 16:10-11). Who is the house of Israel? It includes those Gentile Ephraimites who “hearken unto the Lamb of God … And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God.” (1 Nephi 14:1-2)
There is a pattern to this all:
“And the time cometh that [Christ] shall manifest himself unto all nations, both unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; and after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles, then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”
(1 Nephi 13:42)
First Christ visited the Jews in Jerusalem (his 1st coming), then he visited the Gentile church founded by Peter. He then visited a second Gentile church founded by Joseph Smith (D&C 109:60). After this church goes into apostasy he will again visit an Jewish/Israelite church, but only after the Gentile portion has been purged from her. Those who recognize the signs of the times will stay close to God and he will lead them to the Moses he’s called to gather his people before the coming of Christ. (1 Nephi 22:20)
“Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.”
“David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.”
That God gave David his wives is confirmed in the original story:
“…Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given thee such and such things.”
(2 Samuel 12:7-8)
Why was it that David sinned in marrying Bathsheba and not the other wives? God tells us, “in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.” This statement is very key and its sentiment is echoed in Jacob’s closing remarks on the topic:
“For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”
Do you see the pattern? It is only sin when men take it upon themselves to marry wives without the command of God via one of his appointed prophets. This is what the men who Jacob addressed were doing and why he had to speak to them in such strong terms.
The Prophet Joseph explained it like this:
“So with Solomon: first he asked wisdom, and God gave it him, and with it every desire of his heart, even things which might be considered abominable to all who understand the order of heaven only in part, but which in reality were right because God gave and sanctioned by special revelation.”
(Documentary History of the Church, 5:256)
What Joseph said immediately after this is very telling:
“A parent may whip a child, and justly, too, because he stole an apple; whereas if the child had asked for the apple, and the parent had given it, the child would have eaten it with a better appetite; there would have been no stripes; all the pleasure of the apple would have been secured, all the misery of stealing lost.”
It is easy to deduce from the context of this statement that Joseph was saying that men who take wives without God’s sanction are stealing and deserve to be punished. Something else is also implied by this: if it is wrong to steal a 2nd or 3rd apple, it is also wrong to steal the first. Therefore, if a man takes even one wife without God’s sanction it is stealing and an abomination.
So then, given the gravity of the situation, you’re probably asking yourself, “How does a man know that his marriage has God’s sanction?” The passages above make it clear that when God sanctions a marriage he will give the woman to the man “by the hand of … the prophets who [have] the keys of this power.” Why would only prophets be given this power? The answer is simple, only a prophet is able to get a “special revelation” for each couple. Without that revelation a couple cannot know whether their marriage is approved of God.