The Big Picture Prophecy

The Angle Moroni

“I was once praying earnestly upon this subject, and a voice said unto me, “My son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years of age, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man.” I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this; and I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live to that time, He would make His appearance. But I do not say whether He will make His appearance or I shall go where He is. I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written–the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old. Then read the 14th chapter of Revelation, 6th and 7th verses–“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the our of His judgment is come.” And Hosea, 6th chapter, After two days, etc.,–2,520 years; which brings it to 1890. The coming of the Son of Man never will be–never can be till the judgments spoken of for this hour are poured out: which judgments are commenced. Paul says, “Ye are the children of the light, and not of the darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief in the night.” It is not the design of the Almighty to come upon the earth and crush it and grind it to powder, but he will reveal it to His servants the prophets.”
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 286)

From this we can see that Joseph Smith believed the two days mentioned in Hosea chapter 6 were equal to 2520 years (1 day = 1260 years) and that this period of two days would end in 1890. If we move back 2520 years from 1890 AD we find the starting point of his timeline: 631 BC. Before we get into the significance of this date, we need to determine what this timeline is all about. So let’s take a look at the verses in Hosea that Joseph referred to:

“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”
(Hosea 6:1-3)

From this we can gather that this prophecy is concerned with the division and reunification of the house of Israel (and also about the 1st and 2nd comings of Christ, which we won’t go into here). It is after the two days (631 BC – 1890 AD) that the house of Israel is revived. It is during the third day (1890 AD – 3150 AD) that it is raised up. So what event took place in 631 BC that began the fulfillment of this prophecy? Let’s take a look at what was going on in the house of Israel during this time period.

610 BC31st year: Josiah dies. (2 Chronicles 34:1)

649 BC Josiah born. (2 Chronicles 34:1)
641 BC 1st year: Josiah becomes king of Judah at 8 years old. (2 Chronicles 34:1)
633 BC 8th year: Josiah seeks the Lord. (2 Chronicles 34:3)
629 BC 12th year: Josiah begins to purge Jerusalem of idolatry. (2 Chronicles 34:3-7)
628 BC 13th year: Jeremiah begins to prophecy. (Jeremiah 1:2)
623 BC 18th year: Josiah repairs the Temple, the books are read, and Passover is observed. (2 Chronicles 34:8-33; 35:1-19)

The dates provided here are primarily based on the Battle of Carchemish which happened about 605 BC. Josiah got killed by an Egyptian archer when he confronted King Necho II of Egypt (who was in the process of moving his armies north to join forces with the Assyrians in preparation for battle against Babylon). 610 BC is an approximate date for the death of King Josiah. Based on my previous studies, I’m convinced that 623 is a Jubilee year, so it would make sense that that would be the year which Jeremiah would have the Temple repaired, the books read, and the Passover observed. That is my reason for choosing these dates, but I’m still willing to believe they may be off by a year or two. Whatever the case, we can see that around 631 BC the Israelites were turning away from idolatry back to the Lord, a repentance process begun by King Josiah. The reading of the books is important, because Israelites were renewing their covenant and that covenant is found in the books. Concerning his covenant, God provided a prophecy in the 26th chapter of Leviticus (one of “the books”).

The covenant starts like this:

“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.”
(Leviticus 26:3-4)

If you continue reading in the 26th chapter of Leviticus, you’ll see God promises many more wonderful blessings to the Israelites if they keep all of his commandments, but starting on verse 14 he starts to enumerate the penalties for not keeping his commandments.

“But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.”
(Leviticus 26:14-17)

This is the covenant that King Josiah read in the ears of the Israelites and which they covenanted to abide by. However, as we can see from history, they broke this covenant and we can see that the curses of the covenant came down upon their heads. They were beaten, killed, and taken into captivity and ruled by those who hated them. In captivity they were unable to enjoy the fruits of their harvest, which were consumed by their enemies. However, God in his mercy restored the covenant with the coming of Christ, but again they broke the covenant and again they reaped the cursings.

“And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.”
(Leviticus 26:18-20)

It’s interesting that he says he will punish them “seven times more.” That implies that the first time he punished them was also seven times, but that is a topic for another time.

The time period being described here is the time from the birth of Christ (1 BC) to the uprising of the Muslims (630 AD). Christ’s coming here would be considered the “former rain” spoken of by Hosea. This is also the period of the Great Apostasy (570 AD).

“And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.”
(Leviticus 26:21-22)

These “wild beasts” can be none other than the Muslims who in 637 AD laid siege to the city of Jerusalem and took control of it. In 688 AD the Muslims began building the Dome of the Rock on the temple mount and finished it a few years later. Thus the “high ways” were made desolate. These are the years during which the Christian Crusades were fought against the Muslims in an effort to regain the Holy Land. The power of the Muslims was punctuated in 1260 AD in the Battle of Ain Jalut in which the Muslim Mamluks drove back the invading Mongols. This was a historically decisive battle which defined the Muslims as a new world power.

“And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.”
(Leviticus 26:23-26)

The period from 1260 AD to 1890 AD had several severe famines in Europe. The Great Famine of 1315-1317 is reported to have caused millions of deaths in Europe. From 1845 AD to 1849 AD more than a million Irish perished due to a potato blight. This may be considered a form of pestilence, but a more obvious match would be the bubonic plague outbreak in Europe (the Black Death) which started around 1340 AD and continued for many decades. It is estimated to have claimed one third of Europe’s population. This period of time had no shortage of bloody wars either. These include the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) in most of Europe, and the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) in France and the American Civil War (1861-1865). Also notice that all these major wars were civil wars.

But we’re not done yet. God has yet one last 630 year period planned after 1890 AD. That’s our day, so listen up! It seems God has much more to say about this period than any of the previous periods.

“And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.”
(Leviticus 26:27-39)

The tone has seriously changed here. God isn’t just walking contrary to the Israelites now. He’s walking contrary to them in his fury. Certainly many of these prophesied events are still in the future (the desolation of cities and temples and cannibalism). However, we have seen the partial fulfillment of some of these events. You can see that American and European troops are scattered throughout the world (“among the heathen”) and they are dying on foreign soil (“ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up”). This is a very telling verse:

“they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth.”

Does anything better describe the situation of our ever tightening Homeland Security here in America? Americans are so afraid of what the terrorists might do that they’ve really been cracking down on our civil liberties with an insane zeal. Ultimately this situation may very well lead up to another civil war in the United States as well as in other Israelite nations.

If the above passage was all you’d read, you might think the only thing we have to look forward to is doom and gloom. However, this chapter concludes with the Israelites turning back to God and him restoring his covenant with them. Remember after 1890, we’ve entered into the third day: the time of revival, although it appears that revival doesn’t come (at least not fully) until after the wrath of God has been poured out upon the house of Israel.

If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.”
(Leviticus 26:40-45)

So it seems the order of major events in this final 630 year period (starting in 1890) are:

1) The house of Israel breaks their covenant with God.
2) The wrath of God is poured out upon the house of Israel in fury.
3) The house of Israel repents and is reconciled with their God.

Advertisements

Total Eclipse of America

Solar Eclipse

According to NASA two total solar eclipses are scheduled to entirely shadow the mainland of America. The first is on August 21, 2017 and the second is on April 8, 2024. This is a fairly rare occurrence. The Wikipedia page for the upcoming 2017 eclipse states: “This eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States since 1991 (which was seen only from part of Hawaii), and the first visible from the contiguous United States since 1979.” These two upcoming eclipses will be less than seven years apart. Ok, now here’s were it gets interesting. If you take the paths of these two eclipses and overlap them over America, it creates an X. The eclipse2017.org site has images of where the center of this crosshair lies. Take a look at it here. Quoting from the page: “Actually, to be fair, the overlap of the paths of totality of these two eclipses lies in three states: Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky.” Interesting. Joseph Smith was imprisoned in both Missouri and Illinois. He was murdered by a mob in Illinois.

Top selling author Jonathan Cahn released a book titled “The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future” in 2012. In this book he cites Isaiah 9:9-10 “And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart, The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.” He convincingly argues that this scripture was fulfilled in the events surrounding the attack on the Twin Towers in NYC. His conclusion is that this attack was a harbinger of things to come to the unrepentant America. It is what he calls a warning shot. (You can listen to his full presentation on the topic here.) What Mr. Cahn fails to do is put any emphasis on who it is that is rebelling and in danger of God’s wrath. Verse 9 tells us plainly that this is Ephraim. Ephraim is America! Many Mormons know this, because this is one of the things which Joseph Smith taught. In fact, Brigham Young is known to have stated that Joseph Smith was “a pure Ephraimite.” America is more precisely composed of the scattered Ephraimites or Gentiles.

Ok, so what do solar eclipses have to do with prophecy? Eclipses in ancient times were often looked at as bad omens. There were a few recorded cases of eclipses happening shortly before earthquakes. These events left an impact on the minds of the people of those times which they no doubt passed onto future generations. Here is one recent example of a lunar eclipse being followed by an earthquake in our time: On September 16, 1978 a total lunar eclipse shadowed the country of Iran and a few hours later a devastating earthquake killed 15,000 people (close to the number of fatalities in the recent Japanese earthquake). There is evidence that lunar eclipses are a bad omen for Israel’s enemies, so there is the possibility that solar eclipses are bad omens for Israel. Ephraim is part of the house of Israel! Could this be God’s way of marking in the heavens his time of wrath for the unrepentant in America? Time will tell.


A Question of Succession

“Therefore, thou art blessed from henceforth that bear the keys of the kingdom given unto you; which kingdom is coming forth for the last time.”
(D&C 90:2)

“Unto whom [my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.] I have given the keys of the kingdom, which belong always unto the Presidency of the High Priesthood:”
(D&C 81:2)

“Before I went East on the 4th of April last [1843] we were in council with Brother Joseph almost every day for weeks, says Brother Joseph in one of these councils there is something going to happen; I don’t know what it is, but the Lord bids me to hasten and give you your endowment before the temple is finished. He conducted us through every ordinance of the holy priesthood, and when he had gone through with all the ordinances he rejoiced very much, and says, now if they kill me you have got all the keys, and all the ordinances and you can confer them upon others, and the hosts of Satan will not be able to tear down the kingdom, as fast as you will be able to build it up; and now says he on your shoulders will the responsibility of leading this people right, for the Lord is going to let me rest a while.”
(Orson Hyde’s Testimony, Times and Seasons 5:651, Sept.15, 1844)

“The Presidency of the High Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, have a right to officiate in all the offices in the church.”
(D&C 107:9)

“Of necessity there are presidents, or presiding officers growing out of, or appointed of or from among those who are ordained to the several offices in these two priesthoods. Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.

The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling. And they form a quorum, equal in authority and power to the three presidents previously mentioned.

The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling. And they form a quorum, equal in authority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named.”
(D&C 107:21-26)

There were three primary contenders for the leadership of the Church on Joseph’s death:

  • Sidney Rigdon, 1st Counselor of the First Presidency
  • Brigham Young, President of the Quorum of Twelve
  • James Strang, an Elder.

Only the Quorum of Seventy doesn’t seem to be represented here. The only two remaining presidents (Levi Hancock and Joseph Young) sided with Brigham Young.

Since James Strang was only an Elder, it is unlikely that every other apostle was less qualified than him, so he doesn’t fit in with pattern God revealed. To his credit, he was able to gather quite a following and his church is still alive today.

Being the highest ranking member of the First Presidency, it seems Rigdon had a valid claim to leadership of the Church. However, Sidney Rigdon wasn’t Joseph’s choice for 1st Counselor of the First Presidency. Rigdon only maintained this position because in a meeting to discuss Sidney’s worthiness, many apostles (including Hyrum) begged Joseph to leave him there. Joseph relented, but concluded the meeting by saying:

“I have thrown him off my shoulders, and you have again put him on me. You may carry him, but I will not.”
(Documentary History of the Church, Vol 6, pg. 49)

Sidney Rigdon went on to found his own church which ultimately fell apart. The only other member of the First Presidency was Amasa Lyman, who went on to follow Brigham Young.

Here is a list of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve (with their ordination/reordination dates) at the time Joseph died:

1 Brigham Young (Feb 1835)
2 Heber C. Kimball (Feb 1835)
3 Parley P. Pratt (Feb 1835)
4 *William Smith (Feb 1835, May 1839)
5 Orson Hyde (Feb 1835, June 1839)
6 Orson Pratt (Apr 1835, Jan 1843)
7 John Taylor (Dec 1838)
8 *John E. Page (Dec 1838)
9 Wilford Woodruff (April 1839)
10 George A. Smith (April 1839)
11 Willard Richards (April 1840)
12 *Lyman Wight (April 1841)

Only those with asterisks beside their names did not follow Brigham Young. Both John E. Page and William Smith (Joseph’s younger brother) followed James Strang. William Smith later went on to start his own church in Texas. During this time Lyman Wight followed him, but this church eventually dissolved and William joined the RLDS church some time later.

The RLDS church claims authority by lineage, Joseph Smith III being Joseph’s first son. It wasn’t reorganized until 1860. Although they have two temples, they don’t seem to perform any of the ordinances the Prophet Joseph worked so hard to establish.

If all of the above is true and God has established his kingdom “for the last time”, it would seem that kingdom must have been lead by Brigham Young.


The School of the Prophets

“And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”
(Numbers 11:27-29)

Doctrine and Covenants Section 88, which included instructions for creating “the school of the prophets”, was received on December 27, 1832 by the Prophet Joseph.

“And again, the order of the house prepared for the presidency of the school of the prophets, established for their instruction in all things that are expedient for them, even for all the officers of the church, or in other words, those who are called to the ministry in the church, beginning at the high priests, even down to the deacons—”
(D&C 88:127)

It states the following in the Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants:

“Beginning with the 1835 edition, a series of seven theological lessons was also included; these were titled the Lectures on FaithThese had been prepared for use in the School of the Prophets in Kirtland, Ohio, from 1834 to 1835. Although profitable for doctrine and instruction, these lectures have been omitted from the Doctrine and Covenants since the 1921 edition because they were not given or presented as revelations to the whole Church.”

The last known school of the prophets to be organized was in 1883 when John Taylor was president of the church (“School of the Prophets” Wikipedia article). If the Lord desired to train his prophets via this school, why was the school abandoned and its teaching removed from Church canon? Does the Lord no longer need prophets? or is the Lord using some other way to teach his prophets now?


The Egyptian God Adam

Today I stumbled upon an Egyptian god I’d never heard of before, and yet he seems quite familiar. This god is named Atum. According to Egyptian legend he is the creator, “the deities and all things being made of his flesh.” He is the father of Shu and Tefnut. Atum phonetically sounds a lot like Adam. Could Shu refer to Seth? The Wikipedia article on Atum states, “Atum’s cult centred on the city of Heliopolis.” This is quite fascinating since Joseph of Egypt’s wife Asenath was “the daughter of Potipherah priest of On” (Genesis 41:45). On is another name for the city of Heliopolis. If this Atum is Adam, then maybe Joseph’s wife was also a Hebrew and believed in the same god that Joseph did.

Atum is one of the most important and frequently mentioned deities from earliest times, as evidenced by his prominence in the Pyramid Texts, where he is portrayed as both a creator and father to the king. He is usually depicted as a man wearing either the royal head-cloth or the dual white and red crown of Upper Egypt, and Lower Egypt, reinforcing his connection with kingship.” The Egyptian God Atum

Apparently Atum is a more noteworthy god than our culture gives him credit for. What I find even more interesting is that Atum wears both a red and white crown. I think this symbolism has a more profound meaning than the author of the Wikipedia article leads us to believe. If red represents the flesh and white represents the spirit, then this crown would suggest that the God Atum is a resurrected being, his flesh having been quickened by the spirit. Why would the Egyptians believe that Adam is the creator of mankind and that he also is a resurrected god? Was Brigham Young a reincarnated Egyptian priest? Ok, ok, I’m being a bit facetious, but you get my point. Somehow early Mormon teachings about Adam being God match up with the beliefs of the ancient Egyptian religion.


In Pursuit of Righteousness

Wisdom comes only when you stop looking for it and start living the life the Creator intended for you. (Hopi saying)

“Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it;”
(Joseph Smith, Jr., Documentary History of the Church, 5:134-5)

“And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness.”
(2 Nephi 2:13)

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
(Matthew 6:31-33)

Man was designed to be happy. However, “if there be no righteousness there be no happiness.” Therefore if man is ever to be happy, he must first learn to be righteous. Righteousness is a big word and what it entails is even bigger.

“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)

You might get the impression that God allows us to pick and choose which laws we would like to obey and blesses us accordingly. However, what isn’t stated here is that there is also a cursing attached to every law for disobedience.

“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
(Luke 12:48)

Obviously willful disobedience will be more severely punished than ignorant disobedience, but even the ignorant receive some form of punishment. Remaining ignorant isn’t an option for those seeking happiness, because by not knowing the law they not only won’t be blessed, but they will be cursed to some degree as well. Throughout time, God has preserved his written law so that man would always have access to the laws and the blessings/cursings attached. If man chooses to remain ignorant of those laws, he bars himself from the happiness found in obedience.


Marriage by the Command of God

“Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.”
(Jacob 2:24)

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.”
(D&C 132:38-39)

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.”
(Jacob 2:30)

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.