Debate between Art Bulla and OneWhoIsWatching on the subject of the Spiritual Wife doctrine
Over a year ago an LDS fundamentalist by the name of Art Bulla agreed to debate me on the subject of the Spiritual Wife Doctrine. (actually, the original agreement may have had to do with debating whether or not Art is the “one mighty and strong” as mentioned in section 85 and Isaiah 28, however the debate has morphed into the spiritual wife doctrine since the falseness of that doctrine automatically proves that he would not be the one mighty and strong if that doctrine that he preaches if false)
He assured me that he had never lost a debate on this topic before and I felt that posting both of our arguments and challenges on my blog would be a good exercise in helping those interested in the topic to see two opposing sides of this historical and doctrinal issue.
Before we could begin the debate I got distracted while writing some posts and doing some searching into parts of LDS history that I was not as familiar with as I wanted to be. Those historical searches led me to the series I wrote regarding the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood at the special conference at the Morley Farm held in June of 1831.
I became obsessed with the doctrine and history relating to that study as it filled in the holes and provided further clarification pertaining to much of the doctrinal and historical study I had previously done.
I began to focus on the events of LDS church history relating to the 3 ½ year period beginning with the special conference held in June of 1831 and also became somewhat obsessed with writing a series of article pertaining thereto.
Sometime during or after that series, I found myself in an informal debate with another blogger who in my opinion, made an outstanding attempt to justify section 132 and the spiritual wife doctrine that surfaced during the Nauvoo period of LDS Church history.
Given the fact that he was not very knowledgeable about church history or the general topic to begin with and was simply attempting to defend his faith as a member of the LDS church, I felt he did a well as could be expected. Nevertheless, I personally felt that his arguments were inadequate in defending section 132 and the spiritual wife doctrine as credible doctrines consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
During this period of time I believe the above mentioned blogger attempted to invite someone else, who was more of an expert on the topic (and was probably a practicing fundamentalist) to debate me but for some reason that person apparently declined.
It has since occurred to me that I never gave Art Bulla the opportunity to defend the other side of the argument.
Since Art is a practicing polygamist who claims to receive direct revelation from God and he claims to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, and since he has been involved in LDS fundamentalist apologetics for many, many years, I feel that it is only fair to allow someone of his credentials to have the opportunity to defend section 132 and the spiritual wife doctrine.
I want to apologize to Art for leaving him in the lurch for so long, ironically, I feel the research I have done and the series I wrote pertaining to the Morley Farm has better prepared me to be more specific and precise in explaining and documenting why I must reject section 132 as a false revelation and the spiritual wife doctrine as a false doctrine and heresy that originated in Nauvoo, after the full-blown apostasy of the restored church.
Any and all other LDS fundamentalists are also invited to weigh in on this debate… the more the merrier.
This is the brief which lays out my contention that section 132 and the Spiritual Wife Doctrine that originated among the latter day saints in Nauvoo are false doctrines that contradict the fulness of the gospel that is taught in the scriptures.
I will post Arts preliminary response to my opening arguments and all other dialogue that the two of us have on this topic as well as any other intelligence and respectful comments anyone else wants to make.
Below you will find-
- a six point summary which clarifies and identifies critical historical events and doctrine that pertain to this argument.
- a brief explanation of why section 132 and the practice of the spiritual wife doctrine are false and out of harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the scriptures.
- lastly, please find links to articles I have previously written which document the six point summation.
Six Point Summary
1…THERE WERE THREE PRIESTHOODS RESTORED TO THE EARTH, NOT JUST TWO: During the 15 year ministry of Joseph Smith three divisions or levels of priesthood were restored to the earth. (Most Latter-day Saints erroneously believe and teach that there are only two priesthoods, the Aaronic and Melchizedek. Some LDS fundamentalists acknowledge three priesthoods but erroneously believe that the patriarchal (evangelical) priesthood is higher than the Melchizedek priesthood.)
John the Baptist restored the lesser priesthood which is sometimes referred to as the priesthood of Aaron. It holds the key of the ministering of angels and the right to administer the preparatory gospel and the law of carnal commandments.
Peter James and John restored the higher priesthood which is sometimes referred to as the priesthood of Abraham or patriarchal priesthood. It is also sometimes referred to as the “evangelical priesthood“. That priesthood holds the keys to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel or in other words it holds the keys to administer the ordinances that contain the fulness of the Gospel. Since the patriarchal priesthood administers the saving ordinances of the gospel including baptism and confirmation, it therefore holds the “keys to the kingdom” because it is through the baptism of water, fire and the Holy Ghost that one enters into the kingdom and receives the fulness of the Melchizedek priesthood. It contains the power to seal on heaven and on earth. Righteous holders of the patriarchal priesthood may see the face of Christ.
The first two priesthoods were restored to the earth by angels and can be conferred from one mortal to another. They were both restored to the earth in 1829. Because of this, modern revelation informs us that the fulness of the gospel and the keys of the kingdom had been restored to the earth by the time the church was legally restored in 1830.
The highest priesthood which governs the first two priesthoods and all other powers beneath the celestial kingdom is sometimes called the priesthood of Melchizedek or the priesthood of Enoch.
The Mechizedek Priesthood was restored to the earth in June of 1831 at the special conference held at the Morley Farm. 23 people were CALLED to this priesthood by the voice of God out of heaven on that occasion.
According to the scriptures, people must be called to this highest priesthood according to the voice of God himself, not by mortals or angels. It is sometimes received by the righteous who are both CALLED and CHOSEN by God as a person is born again spiritually after the water baptism, (however, we are informed in scripture that the Lord sometimes CALLS those who are not CHOSEN to allow them to condemn themselves) This spiritual rebirth wherein the New and Everlasting Covenant is made between God and man is referred to as the baptism of the fire and the Holy Ghost.
Upon being called by the voice of God out of heaven, the candidate is ordained to the OFFICE of a high priest within the Melchizedek priesthood by Gods anointed servant(s). Those holding this priesthood that are worthy may have the heavens opened and see the father and the son or hear the voice of God bearing witness of his Son.
Those that hold the fullness of this highest priesthood can command the elements and have power over unclean spirits as Melchizedek and Enoch did as well as having the power and authority to establish ZION. (Those who seriously want to understand this priesthood and the fruits thereof would do well to read about the life and ministry of Enoch in the Pearl of Great Price and the life and ministry of Melchizedek as contained in the inspired version of the Bible.)
The fact that the spiritual wife doctrine and the practice of polygamy were introduced AFTER the fulness of the gospel and the highest priesthood were rejected and the church was condemned, provides strong evidence that the spiritual wife doctrine is false and the practice of biblical polygamy was not required for the highest salvation and is at best a carnal commandment and a lesser law.
2… SHORTLY AFTER THE RESTORATION OF THE FIRST TWO PRIESTHOODS AND THE LEGAL ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH, THE SAINTS WERE COMMANDED TO GATHER TO OHIO TO RECEIVE THE LAW OF THE GOSPEL: the law of the gospel that they received in section 42 contained the law of consecration and the law of monogamy. The LAW of the GOSEPEL as given in section 43 was not a temporary law, it was to be lived until the Savior returns according to section 43.
The LAW of the GOSPEL in section 42 also required the translation and publishing of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible so that the content thereof could be part of the LAW by which Zion would be established. The Saints were commanded to obey these commandments… not only to say, but to do. This law of the gospel is also referred to as celestial law and the LAW OF ZION. It is the highest law of the gospel. Any other law that contradicts it, such as biblical polygamy or the spiritual wife doctrine would be a false law or a lesser law.
3… DURING A 3 ½ YEAR PERIOD THE SAINTS COLLECTIVELY REJECTED THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL AS PROPHECIED IN THE BOOK OF MORMON: Beginning at the special conference at the Morley Farm in June of 1831 and ending approximately 3 ½ years later in 1834, the Saints had the opportunity to comprehend and embrace the greater light of the fulness of the gospel and the New and Everlasting Covenant. During this highly revelatory time 90% of the revelations were received including the vision of the father and the Son contained in section 76, as well as sections 84, 88, etc. (the testimony given in section 76 is the LAST testimony of all of the great prophets and is the same testimony that is given in the 3rd watch (dispensation of the fulness of times). It appears to be the same testimony spoken of in Rev 11:7)
Unfortunately several of the original 23 high priests fell away during the 3 ½ year period of time while others began denying that the Melchizedek priesthood had been restored… others maintained that it was only the “office” of “High Priest” within the “higher” patriarchal (evangelical) priesthood restored by peter James and John that had been restored at the Morley Farm.
During this 3 1/2 year period of time many of the newly ordained high priests became discouraged, disenchanted and jealous of others when they failed to see the Face of God as is promised to high priests that are worthy.
During this three and half year period the Lord warned the Saints that if they did not consecrate, redeem Zion and live the higher law which mandates monogamy they were not his. By the end of the 3 ½ year period the saints had fled Jackson County, failed to live consecration in Kirtland and had been warned by the lord that they were under condemnation for taking the things they had been given lightly.
At the end of the 3 ½ year period the Lord gave an unpublished revelation telling the leaders and members of the church that they were condemned and that a repentance and reformation in all things would be required at some point in time.
“Verily condemnation resteth upon you, who are appointed to lead my Church, and to be saviors of men; and also upon the church; And there must needs be a repentance and a reformation among you, in all things…” (December 5th 1834 Page 73 Unpublished Revelations)
That unpublished revelation is consistent with the Book of Mormon prophesy that the additional ancient records will not go forth in the third watch until after the gentiles repent: “For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.” Ether 4: 6
The fact that the saints were in a state of apostasy in 1834 and that modern revelation and the Book of Mormon testify that the gentiles will not repent until the additional records come forth in the 3rd watch, testifies against the practice of polygamy and the spiritual wife doctrine that began during the Nauvoo period, during a period of apostasy.
4…BY JULY OF 1837 ALL FLESH UPON THE EARTH HAD BECOME CORRUPT. In Sept of 1831 the Lord informed the Saints that Kirtland would only be a stronghold for five more years however the apostasy that followed the rejection of the fulness of the gospel continued to get worse. Shortly after that, the Lord revealed that SOMETHING NEW MUST BE DONE FOR THE SALVATION OF THE CHURCH which resulted in the restoration of the gospel of Abraham in 1836, just prior to the completion of the five year stronghold in Kirtland.
Shortly thereafter, in July of 1837, the Lord announced that “GROSS DARKNESS” covered the minds of “ALL PEOPLE” and that ‘ALL FLESH HAS BECOME CORRUPT” . Soon after that, the Saints fled Kirtland, then fled Far West and eventually established Nauvoo as the cornerstone of Zion where the Lord made the ominous announcement that the “fullness of the Priesthood” had been “LOST” and would need to be “RESTORED AGAIN“.
The Lord then warned the Saints that if the Nauvoo Temple and Nauvoo House were not built by the appointed time, the Saints would be rejected as a church with their dead. Neither the temple or the Nauvoo House were ever finished.
Sections 110, 112 and 124 testify that the Saints were in apostasy at the time that the spiritual wife doctrine was being introduced. The quorum of the 12 inparticular were under condemnation. In an unpublished revelation in Nov 1835 the Lord declared that the 12 were all under condemnation. (see unpublished rev page 79) It appears that they remained under condemnation until section 112 was given in July of `1837 and remained under this condemnation during their missionary assignments and right up until the martyrdom.
5…THE TERM NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT EXCLUSIVELY HAS TO DO WITH THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL WHICH RESULTS IN THE SPIRITUAL REBIRTH: the scriptures make it very clear that the terms “New and Everlasting Covenant” and “Fulness of the Gospel” are synonymous and that both had been restored to the earth by the time that the LAW OF ZION (which requires monogamy) was given in 1831. Hence, polygamy and the spiritual wife doctrine that were introduced secretly TEN YEARS LATER and publicly several years later in Utah under the direction of Brigham Young, were clearly not part of the LAW of Zion nor is it accurate to refer to polygamy or the spiritual wife doctrine as the new and everlasting covenant.
This provides additional evidence that the spiritual wife doctrine constitutes a false or lesser gospel.
6… SECTION 132 IS A FALSE REVELATION THAT IS NOT CONGRUENT WITH THE RELATED DOCTRINES TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE, BOOK OF MORMON OR THE REMAINING VERIFIABLE, UNALTERED REVELATIONS IN THE D&C. (see my article on that topic as referenced below)
The restored church of Christ had rejected the fulness of the gospel by the end of 1834 just as the Book of Mormon foretold. Additionally, the new and everlasting covenant had been entered into and broken by the end of 1834 as prophesied by Isaiah.
The saints had fallen under condemnation instead of collectively receiving the greater light as documented in section 84.
As a result, they failed to redeem Zion on or before the appointed time of September 11 1836 which brought about a literal fulfillment of the bridegroom deciding to tarry as contained in the parable of the ten virgins.
The entire church and the whole world were in gross darkness and had become corrupt again by 1837. From that point on, the restored church was unable to endure sound doctrine
In 1841 The Lord announced that the fulness of the priesthood (which is sometimes named after Melchizedek) had been lost from the earth.
Section 113 clarifies the words of Isaiah to informs us that in the end times latter day Israel would again “put on the priesthood, which, she, Zion has a right to by lineage and to return to that power which she had lost“. That is clearly a future event and it further clarifies that the church is in a state of darkness and apostasy at the present time.
From the evidence contained above and the related documentation provided below, it is clearly demonstrated that section 132 is a false revelation with false doctrines in it.
Furthermore, the teaching and practicing of the spiritual wife doctrine entered into the church long after it had lost the fulness of the priesthood. It was introduced at a time when the church could no longer endure sound doctrine.
Documentation for the above thesis is contained in the articles provided below.
The following graphic provides a prophetic time line illustrating how the restored church was legally organized in 1830, then had the light of the fulness of the gospel and the everlasting covenant begin to shine forth in June of 1831.
This greater light attempted to shine forth as the Saints attempted to establish Zion and live consecration for a period of 3 ½ years at which time the greater light went out as the fullness of the gospel and the law of consecration had been cumulatively rejected by the church.
God continued to labor with the church and gave them the opportunity to redeem themselves, complete the building of the Nauvoo Temple, restore the fullness of the priesthood and usher in the dispensation of the fullness of times during the Nauvoo period.
After failing to build the temple and usher in the fullness of times, the following generation began when Brigham Young was sustained as the President of the church in Dec 1947 and again in April of 1848. Exactly four generations (160 years) after the sustaining of Brigham Young brings us to the end of the 400 year prophesy contained in Genesis 15. (1607 -2007)
The 3 ½ year period inside the red circle identifies the time we are currently living in which is witnessing the collapse of the financial system and the going forth of the curse that Isaiah, Malachi and Moses prophesied of.
Prior to that, a 3 1/2 year period marked in red shows the period of time from June 1831 to the end of 1834 when the fulness of the gospel was being rejected by the gentiles.
The timeline graphic below testifies against the spiritual wife doctrine because the fulness of the gospel began to shine forth in June of 1831 and had been rejected by the gentile church nearly 10 years before the spiritual wife doctrine was revealed and practiced in Nauvoo. The latter day saints had cumulatively rejected the fulness of the gospel and broken the everlasting covenant by the end of 1834, long before the Spiritual Wife heresy surfaced in Nauvoo .
Lastly, here is a link to an article showing how the introduction of the spiritual wife wife doctrine in the last days was prophesied by ancient prophets and also explains why and how Joseph Smith got involved in it as an intercessor for an apostate people.