Mormonism and polygamy/Leaders worried missionaries take best plural wives
Joseph Smith era:
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Critics claim that nineteenth century Church leaders worried that missionaries would "take all the best" convert women as plural wives before they got to Salt Lake.
The quote used by the Tanners says nothing about choosing women. Heber C. Kimball warns the missionaries simply that they are on the Lord's errand, and should allow the Lord to choose his sheep. They are not to decide who is worthy of the gospel, they are merely to bring home those whom the Lord (as master shepherd) chooses.
Heber C. Kimball said,
- "Let truth and righteousness be your motto; and do not go into the world for anything else but to preach the Gospel, build up the kingdom of God, and gather the sheep into the fold. You are sent out as shepherds to gather the sheep together; and remember that they are not your sheep: they belong to Him that sends you. Then do not make a choice of any of those sheep; do not make selections before they are brought home and put into the fold. You understand that. Amen."
Elsewhere, the Tanners quote Heber C. Kimball from the Deseret News, though they attribute his remarks to Brigham Young. The Tanners do not, however, tell the reader about the very next sentence in Heber's speech, which calls their interpretation of his remarks above into question:
- I wish more of our young men would take to themselves wives of the daughters of Zion, and not wait for us old men to take them all; go-ahead upon the right principle, young gentlemen, and God bless you for ever and ever and make you fruitful, that we may fill the mountains and then the earth with righteous inhabitants. That is my prayer, and that is my blessing upon all the saints and upon your posterity after you, for ever: Amen."
Clearly, Heber is here not worried about having missionaries "save" more wives for him.
- [note] Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 6:256.
- [note] "Remarks by Heber C. Kimball, directly after the sermon by President B. Young, printed in no. 34: Bowery, Oct. 6, 1855," Deseret News Vol. V, No. 35 (7 November 1855): 274 (2nd page of this number). off-site