Adultery has been a plague on the restoration beginning while Joseph was still alive. Nauvoo was filled with adulterers. Once John Bennett was exposed in 1842, Joseph Smith brought charges before the Nauvoo High Council against any of those he learned were involved.
As part of the many High Council proceedings Joseph brought, when men or women confessed and named others, those others were also charged before the High Council.
From 1842 till his death, Joseph publicly and privately condemned adultery. Despite all Joseph said to oppose it, the formal practice of that abomination was adopted by the highest levels of the church as a sacrament as soon as Joseph and Hyrum were killed.
In March 1844 Hyrum wrote a letter explaining that the false teaching of adulterous men using lies about some ‘higher priesthood’ were altogether false. His letter is part of the new volume of scripture, the Teachings and Commandments, as section 152. It reads in relevant part: “some of your elders say that a man having a certain Priesthood may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrine is taught here at Nauvoo: I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrine, for there is no such doctrine taught here, neither is there any such thing practiced here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such doctrine is culpable, and will stand a chance to be brought before the high council, and lose his license and membership also Therefore, he had better beware what he is about.” (T&C 152:1)
Hyrum’s letter accurately described what Joseph was doing: bringing adulterers who took plural wives before the High Council to be cast out.
That false idea is still propounded by the same false spirit that derailed the restoration at the beginning. Today there are still false claims of ‘higher priesthood’ with the ability to violate the commandment against committing adultery. That spirit appeals to the pride and vanity of the foolish and gullible. No one ought to be taken in by it.
Consider what the effect would be on a society that welcomed and practiced such an abomination. It would destabilize families, produce broken homes, leave children victims of their parents selfishness and betrayal, and foster such widespread disunity and division it would be impossible to become of one heart and one mind.
The very purpose of the temptation to adopt adultery as a sacrament is the destruction of Zion. Adulterous people cannot be part of Zion. Their abomination is contrary to the very idea. That sin is urged by a false spirit. It has succeeded in preventing Zion before, and must not be permitted to do so again.