Jacob 2

Jacob 2: Un-Chastity is bad, Seek riches to help your fellow men

 

Jacob speaks to his people saying that he wishes to rid the people of their sins, because he is; “…weighed down with much more desire and anxiety for the welfare of [their] souls…” (Jacob 2:3)

Jacob was inspired from God to tell the people that they were sinning, for many of the people were focused on the riches of the world and looked down on those who did not have as much as they did. Jacob explains to them that; “…before ye seek riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good – to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” (Jacob 2:18-19) So, is money bad? No. Money is only bad if you are greedy, if you desire to obtain riches for good then it is ok. It is when money becomes your God that it is bad.

However, Jacob continues to speak to his people about a larger and more serious sin, he explains; “…This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms…” (Jacob 2:23) Jacob explains that in times of old David and Solomon had many wives, which was an abomination to the Lord. God has commanded that men only have one wife, however God can also in some times allow for polygamy to happen; “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 [having one wife].” (Jacob 2:30) In other words unless God commands otherwise, Polygamy should not happen.

What is Polygamy?

                Polygamy occurs when there are more than two partners in a marriage. In this case, seven women marrying one man (or taking hold of one man) would constitute ‘Polygamy’ and more specifically; ‘Polygyny’; which is when a man has multiple wives.

Polygamy in the LDS Church:

                When someone wants to attack The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days [LDS]; or more commonly known as “The Mormons”, Polygamy is almost ALWAYS brought up! Why? Because the LDS Church practiced Polygamy. However, are the “Mormons” the only ones who have practiced Polygamy throughout time? No.

At various times, the Lord has commanded His people to practice plural marriage. However, like the scripture above, Polygamy was to be used within the laws of God, in other words it has only been instituted when and IF God commands. God has initiated this practice, when population of his people was at risk for extinction or in cases such as the scripture above, when women married men to take away the ‘reproach’. Early in the History of the LDS Church, so many people persecuted the church and its members that men were actually killed at an alarming rate. This left many women as widows with children. But as anyone knows women in the 1800’s were not given as many rights as men, and especially not as many rights as married women. Because women had basically no rights as single unmarried women (regardless of being widows) the Lord commanded some of the early Saints to practice plural marriage. The Prophet Joseph Smith and those closest to him, including Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, were challenged by this command, but they obeyed it. Church leaders regulated the practice. Those entering into it had to be authorized to do so, and the marriages had to be performed through the sealing power of the priesthood.

Many of the men who participated in it did so for legal reasons, and many men kept “one wife”, but had many other legal wives that did their own thing. Like the scripture mentioned above; “…We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.” – In other words give us your last name and be legally called your ‘wife’, but I will take care of myself. Some who were chosen to practice polygamy were also commanded to have children with their multiple wives; however this was not the common practice throughout the church. Anyone who disobeyed the commandment of God and used Polygamy to have control over women or simply for sexual lust were disciplined by the church.

Contrary to what many people think, the LDS Church does NOT practice Polygamy today! In 1890, President Wilford Woodruff received a revelation that the leaders of the Church should cease teaching the practice of plural marriage;

To Whom It May Concern:

Press dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized and that forty or more such marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year, also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy—

I, therefore, as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false. We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our Temples or in any other place in the Territory.

One case has been reported, in which the parties allege that the marriage was performed in the Endowment House, in Salt Lake City, in the Spring of 1889, but I have not been able to learn who performed the ceremony; whatever was done in this matter was without my knowledge. In consequence of this alleged occurrence the Endowment House was, by my instructions, taken down without delay.

Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.

There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy; and when any Elder of the Church has used language which appeared to convey any such teaching, he has been promptly reproved. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.

Wilford Woodruff

President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President Lorenzo Snow offered the following:

“I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized by virtue of his position to issue the Manifesto which has been read in our hearing, and which is dated September 24th, 1890, and that as a Church in General Conference assembled, we accept his declaration concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding.”

Salt Lake City, Utah, October 6, 1890

Colossians 4

Colossians 4: Speech – Answers for All

                Paul urges ‘Masters’ to understand that they too have a Master in Heaven; “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in Heaven.” (Colossians 4:1) While Paul was most likely referring to literal masters and servants, I think this can be applied to anything that men or women may have dominion or responsibility over. For example, a Husband has a duty to watch after his wife, being just and equal… and vice-versa. A human has dominion over the environment and animals, but it doesn’t mean that we should destroy the environment or animals without purpose. For we will be judged for all our actions, while caring for the earth during our time here.

Paul urges the Saints in Colosse to season their speech with Salt, because Salt does not perish; “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6) In other words, our speech should always be long lasting, for positive reasons.

Paul ends his writings to the Colossians, but instructs them to read his epistles to them, to the church of the Laodiceans, and vice-versa;

“…when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Ladicea” (Colossians 4:16) Essentially, all scripture is good… even if it is not directed towards you.

1 Chronicles 13-14

1 Chronicles 13-14

Chapter 13: The Ark of the Lord

David consulted with all the captains and said unto the congregation of Israel that he felt it was good to send a group out to get the ark of the Lord. So David and his group of people brought the ark of the Lord from Kirjath-jearim which belonged to Judah and carried the ark in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart.

David and all of Israel were singing and dancing, and when the ark met the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza reached out to hold the ark and the anger of the Lord was upon him and smote him so that he died.

Because of this David was afraid of the Lord and did not know where to place the ark, so he didn’t bring it into the city of David, but instead carried it into the house of Obed-edom and the ark of God blessed the family of Obed-edom for three months.

Chapter 14: David Marries Wives and Becomes Famous

Hyram the king of Tyre sent messengers to David bringing him timber of cedars, with masons and carpenters to build him a house. So David perceived that the Lord has confirmed him a king over all of Israel.

David took more wives to marry and begat more sons and daughters;

Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua,Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Beeliada, and Eliphalet.

When the Philistines heard that David was anointed King, they came up and sought for his life. So David counsels with the Lord and asks what he shall do and the Lord tells him to go up against the Philistines in battle, because he will deliver him. So they came up to Baal-perazim and David smote them there. David also burned their gods and caused that the Philistines spread out among the valley. The fame of David went out among the land.

Judges 19-21

Judges 19-21

Chapter 19: Dividing in 12 Pieces

I almost want to say, “viewer discretion is advised” on this passage! Seriously it is probably one of the more messed up stories of the Bible. So there is that warning, before you read.

A Levite living in Ephraim gets a concubine (a mistress) from Bethlehem. She however is unfaithful to him and returns to her father’s house in Bethlehem. Four month later the Levite man gets his servant and starts after her. When he arrives there the concubine brings him into her father’s house and invites him to stay. The Levite man stays for 3 days and prepares to head back home, but the father insists that he stays for food and then he ends up staying until the fifth day, when he tries to convince him again, but after 5 days the Levite wants to leave, so he leaves with his servant and concubine.

During their trip back they pass the city of Jebus (later Jebus gets conquered by the Israelites and is renamed “Jerusalem”), which has Jebusites living there. The Levite’s servant suggests they stop for the night in Jebus, but the Levite refuses to stay in a city whose inhabitants aren’t Israelites, so they push on to the city of Gibeah.

At Gibeah, they go into the “down town” section and everyone refuses to take them in. In this time, it was custom for someone to offer a place to sleep at night. But no one seems to let them in, except an old man that comes in from among the fields. The old man asks him where he is from, and the Levite tells him and asks for just a place to stay for the night. The old man finds out that they are both from the hill country of Ephraim and offers to give him food as well. They arrive at the old man’s home and get something to eat and wash their feet, all in all they were “enjoying themselves”.

Just then, the house gets surrounded by a bunch of wicked men of the city. They practically pound the door down and demand the old man to send out the Levite that is staying with him. The reason for this? They “wicked men” want to rape the Levite man. I told you this was a pretty graphic chapter. This part of the story is from (verses 22-30).

So the old man responds to the wicked men:

“…I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house… here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now… and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not vile a thing.” (Judges 19:23-24)

                The men refuse to listen, so the Levite sends out his concubine…

“…and they knew her, and abused her all night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go” (Judges 19:25)

She returns to the house, after a whole night of being gang raped. She falls down to the ground in front of the house where she remains unto daylight. The Levite then wakes up and comes outside to find her by the front door on the threshold. He tells her to get up, that they must be going now. She doesn’t respond, so he picks her up and puts her on his donkey and returns home. The chapter or verse does not mention anything about the state of the concubine, but from the looks of it, it appears she is dead when he loads her onto the donkey. So she was raped to death. I told you that I should put a “viewer/reader discretion is advised” on the first of this blog!

When the Levite returns home, he takes the concubine and cuts her body into 12 pieces and sends a piece to each tribe of Israel. When the Israelites find this, they respond with rage; “… there was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt…” (Judges 19:30)

Chapter 20: Benjamites Are Destroyed

So the story from the last passage carries on… A woman was gang raped to death and it seemed no one cared. But in this chapter we find out who did this horrible crime. So we know that the woman was cut up into 12 pieces and sent to every tribe of Israel, well they are horrified. At least someone cares now, right? Well we find out that it was the Benjamites that committed the crime. The other 11 tribes of Israel gather before the Lord at Mizpah to find out what happened.

The Levite explains the situation to the eleven tribes. He says that his concubine and him went to Gibeah to spend the night, during their visit the men in Gibeah intended to come after him but instead he handed over his concubine. She was killed like we read in the last chapter and then the Levite cut her into pieces and sent them to each region of Israel, because the crime was committed in Israel.

The 11 tribes of Israel unanimously decide that they are going to give the Gibeanites what they deserve for their heinous crime. So they go to the tribe of Benjamin and demand that they hand over the men from Gibeah who committed the crime. The Benjamites decide not to hand over the men, and instead prepare for war against the rest of Israel.

The Benjamites organize and have 26,000 swordsmen and 700 chosen men from Gibeah. The 700 chosen men were all left-handed and could sling a rock at a hair and not miss. Essentially these men were great warriors!

So to respond to this great number, the Israelites (the other 11 tribes) muster up 400,000 swordsmen and they gather at Bethel to inquire of the Lord who (of each tribe) should go to battle first. The Lord tells them that Judah should go first and they are practically wiped out. They lose 22,000 men! The Israelites then spend the day weeping, and encouraging each other to go back to battle. They ask God if they should go to battle again, and the Lord responds with a positive! The Israelites go to battle again and they lose another 18,000 men in battle! So they come back and weep and fast. They then ask God again, if they should go. They seem to be a bit disheartened, and the Lord tells them to go back to battle and this time the Benjamites would be delivered into their hands!

So the 11 tribes of Israel go up against the Benjamites again, this time with more strategy. They lose 30 men, but as the Israelites retreat, the Benjamites are struck from behind. They retreat, but the city of Gibeah is burned down. So the Benjamites retreat into the desert, and are followed and hunted down, the Benjamites lose 18,000 men and try to retreat another direction, where they are met by more of Israel. This time they lose another 5,000 men and then again another 2,000 men. All in all only 600 of the original 26,700 men escape and live in the desert for 4 months. While the 600 men escape and are in hiding the Israelites finish off killing ALL of the Benjamites, burning their cities and killing even their animals!

Chapter 21: Wives for the Benjamites

With only 600 Benjamite men in hiding, the rest of Israel gathers at Bethel to mourn the almost extinction of one of the tribes of Israel. The 11 tribes of Israel promise to not give any of their women to the Benjamites to marry. So now the tribe of Benjamin has no hope of continuing on, seeing as the only Bnjamites left are 600 men. All of the women and children have been wiped out.

The 11 tribes of Israel made an oath about not marrying any of their women to the Benjamites, and they all made a promise that if someone did not come to this meeting that they would be put to death. While mourning the tribes of Israel realize that the people of Jabesh Gilead are not there at Mizpah mourning with them. They decide they will be the solution to the problem. They have to put the people of Jabesh Gilead to death anyways because they broke the oath. So they decide to kill all of them and only spare the virgin woman and give those women to the tribe of Benjamin. The problem is that there are only four hundred women. But they bring these women to the tribe of Benjamin as a peace offering.

The tribe of Israel mourns some more, because there are still 200 men without wives, but they remember that there is an annual festival that happens at Shiloh. So they instruct the Benjamites to go an hide in the vineyards of Shiloh and when the girls come out to dance, they can snatch them up and take them as wives. If their fathers or brothers have a problem with this, the Israelites will calm them down, and ask them to do this favor so the Benjamites can have wives.

That is what happened and the Benjamites can continue on… the chapter ends.