Bruce R. McConkie includes entry in first edition of Mormon Doctrine on the "Article on Marriage" and mentions JS's polygamy.

Bruce R. McConkie

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1958), 49–50

Joseph Smith, Jr., Bruce R. McConkie
Reading Public

Article on Marriage. See CELESTIAL MARRIAGE, DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS, MANIFESTO, PLURAL MARRIAGE, SCRIPTURE. As early as 1832 the Lord revealed to the Prophet the doctrine of celestial marriage, including also the principle of plurality of wives. This was before the restoration of the sealing keys, and so the Lord did not command either the practice of eternal marriage or the practice of the added order of plurality of wives at that time. Monogamy and civil marriage remained and were, at that time, the order of the Church. The revelation setting forth the higher law of temple marriage was not recorded; the doctrine was not taught except in private to some of the leading brethren of the Church; and it was not practiced.

In 1835, in connection with the approval of the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants for publication, and in the absence of the Prophet, Oliver Cowdery wrote an article on marriage. The article, dealing with civil and monogamous marriage that is, with the then accepted marriage discipline of the Church — though not particularly a wise and proper presentation of the Church's views even on matters pertaining to civil marriage, was accepted by the people and approved for publication in the same book with the revelations. It was clearly understood by all concerned, however, that the article on marriage was not a revelation, that it contained Oliver Cowdery's views and not necessarily those of the Prophet, and that it was merely a statement of policy bearing on the system of civil marriage then prevailing in the Church and in the world.

When the Prophet returned and learned of the action taken relative to the publication of the article on marriage, he was greatly troubled. However, knowing that up to that date the new and everlasting covenant of marriage had only been revealed in principle, that there was as yet no command to practice it, and that the power and keys had not been restored whereby marriages could be solemnized so they would endure for eternity, he let the action stand. The higher order was to come later.

Then in 1836 Elijah came and restored the sealing power, the power to bind on earth and have it sealed eternally in the heavens. (D. & C. 110:13-16; 132:45-47.) At a still later date, temple endowments and other ordinances were revealed — all of which are a necessary prelude to the performance of an eternal marriage, a marriage between one man and one woman, or between one man and more than one women, as the case may be. After these things the practice of celestial marriage, including plurality of wives, was commanded. In 1843 the previously revealed doctrine of celestial marriage (including plurality of wives) was recorded for the first time; added truths were also stated in the revelation as finally recorded, as for instance a reference to the fact that the keys of sealing now had been given and also special instruction to Emma Smith relative to plural marriage. (D. & C. 132:45-47, 51-55.)

There was, of course, no opportunity to add the revelation on marriage to a new edition of the Doctrine and Covenants until after the saints came west. Temple endowments, celestial marriage, and plural marriage had all been practiced in Nauvoo, but being higher, sacred ordinances their practice had not as yet been announced to the world. After the saints came west the restored order of marriage discipline was taught publicly, and in due course the revelation on marriage was published. Obviously it was good sense to delete from the Doctrine and Covenants the article on marriage because it had application to a lesser order, an order that prevailed before the full law had been restored.

In its apostate bitterness The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has tried to make it appear that the article on marriage was the only approved order of the Church and that the revelation on marriage was a spurious one authored by Brigham Young. The facts, of course, destroy their specious claims. An understanding of the historical sequences involved and of the doctrinal principles relative to the sealing power make the truth very clear. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, pp. 195-198.)

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