The Iron Rod Podcast
The Iron Rod Podcast
Iron Rod 010 - What the scriptures say and don't say about polygamy

One of the most divisive topics to come out of Nauvoo is polygamy. One challenge, however, is that the modern Mormon polygamy is completely different than the polygamy that is mentioned in the scriptures. In this episode we review what the scriptures actually say and don’t say about polygamy in their original context to understand what scriptural polygamy was all about and what that means for us today.

Genesis 16:2-3, 6, 8
Genesis 23:1-2
Genesis 25:1, 6
Genesis 29:18,21,23,25,28
Deuteronomy 21:15-17
Deuteronomy 25:5-9
Deuteronomy 17:17
2 Chronicles 11:17-23, 12:1
JST 1 Kings 11:4,6, 15:3
Galatians 4:22-31
Romans 9:6-9
Jacob 2:23-28, 31-33
Mosiah 11:1-2
Ether 10:5
D&C 42:22
D&C 49:16
D&C 58:21-23
1835 D&C 101

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6 comments on “Iron Rod 010 – What the scriptures say and don’t say about polygamy

  1. One Who Is Thirsting Feb 17, 2019

    Another very good episode with keen insights. Thank you!

    A request I would have is: For episodes that are scripture rich, could you please post the scriptures used in the notes?

    I listen to these episodes while doing other things. And I’ve found myself stopping to jot down a reference I want to study deeper. This one was too much, in a good way. I love the scriptures and it would make my study easier to just come to this page and dive in than to have to re-listen a few more times to make sure I got them all.

    Keep up the great work.

    • I will try to capture the key scriptural references we have in our outline, but once we’re recording we often think of other scriptures on the fly, so I may not capture all those.

  2. One Who Is Thirsting Feb 17, 2019

    It looks like Gen. 16:3 Abram takes Hagar “to be his wife.”

    Then four short years later God reveals to Abram that “[his] people have gone astray from [his] precepts and have not kept [his] ordinances, which [he] gave unto their fathers” (JST Gen. 17:4).

    In verse 5, God changes Abrams name to Abraham and in verse 11 tells him that he must circumcise his foreskin.

    I find it interesting that as a token that he will keep the Lord’s commands he’s asked to circumcise himself. Could there be a tie to what Abram did with Hagar there?

    • Make sure you keep Genesis 16:3 in context with the surrounding scriptures. It is part of 16:2, which is Sarai’s proposal to have a child through Hagar. Verse 4 is when the idea turns into action, but from that point on no one considers Hagar to be a wife. 16:6 has Abram telling Sarai that Hagar is her maid and Sarai can do as she pleases. 16:9 has the angel also refer to Hagar as Sarai’s maid, not Abram’s wife. While Sarai might have proposed it as giving Hagar to be a wife, no where does anyone in scripture accept that she was a wife.

      The symbolism of circumcision that can be interpreted in many ways. I hadn’t considered the Hagar angle. I currently link it to the conception of Isaac, the son of promise. Both Abraham and Sarah were beyond the years of bearing children, so it required divine intervention for the house of Israel to be born. With circumcision a requirement for acceptance into the house of Israel, it seems a good reminder that Israel only exists because of divine intervention. But without a scripture actually explaining the symbolism, anything we come up with is speculation, so we shouldn’t hold on to any interpretation too hard.

      • Steve Jun 10, 2019

        The sacrifice required the shedding of blood. Sacrifices and covenants quite often require such.

  3. One of the best I’ve ever come across on the subject for a long time, thank you.