How Could Joseph Smith Be a True Prophet Practicing Polygamy?

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Question

Hey Gramps.

I was having a discussion with someone about prophets and how Joseph Smith wasn’t a true prophet because he practiced polygamy.  I told him that Joseph Smith was a prophet in a new dispensation and he stated that he wasn’t because he didn’t follow the guidelines of being a prophet from biblical times (New Testament). Any answer to that?

Richard

Answer

Richard,

It seems like, in every generation, there are individuals who will come up with their own litmus test as to who can and who can’t be a prophet. When it came to Laman & Lemuel and their litmus test it was their authority as the older siblings, thus Nephi could not be the ruler, nor the prophet as this was their calling. AND indeed it may have been if not for their rebellion as the Lord declared to Nephi (1 Nephi 2:21-22):

21 And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.

22 And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren.

When Adam was the Patriarch/Prophet, was it because he had one wife or because he was called and chosen by God? What about Moses who grew up among the Egyptians, and who killed a priest. What allowed Moses to be a prophet? One wife? Or was it because he was called and chosen by God? As to both, it is because they were called and chosen by God.

What about Noah, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob? Were they called and chosen because they had one wife? Well, with Noah, it seems he had only one wife (although there is some debate). Abraham had a child with another woman. Isaac appears to only have had Rebecca. Jacob had four wives. Did the idea of having more than one wife stop Abraham and Jacob from being patriarchs/prophets? No. Their marriage relationship did not determine if they could or could not be a prophet. What determined that they were prophets is that they were called and chosen by God.

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