Old Time Wives’ Tales

I still get emails about the marriages of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I got one suggesting the example of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob might justify multiple wife-taking. In response I wrote the following:

Abraham had one wife, Sarah, who was barren.
Sarah wanted a “surrogate” to bear a child for her.
The surrogate was not a wife, but a “concubine” for surrogacy.
The surrogate bore the child, but did not turn him over to Sarah to raise after weaned. Instead she turned the heart of the child against Sarah.
Sarah bore a child, who was unexpected and became the heir.
Eventually the surrogate’s son threatened Sarah’s son, and both the surrogate and her son were driven off.
Sarah remained the only wife throughout.

Isaac had only one wife.

Jacob contracted to wed Rachel.
The father of Rachel committed fraud to deceive Jacob, resulting in an unwelcome and unintended wife with whom he spent a wedding night that obligated him to keep her as wife.
Jacob overcame the fraud to obtain Rachel, but remained obligated to Leah.
Rachel, his beloved wife, was barren. She also provided a surrogate (concubine) to have a child for her.
Leah bore children, but then ceased to be fertile and also wanted a surrogate (concubine) to bear a child for her.

Jacob intended to have one wife, Rachel. The circumstances produced offspring that were murderously jealous of the son born to the beloved wife. These other siblings conspired to murder Joseph.

There is little lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy in these events and relationships.

D&C 132 was not the revelation Joseph received, and was altered before publication. The original does not exist. We have a purported copy from a store clerk, Joseph Kingsbury, who never acted as scribe for Joseph.

The Nauvoo High Council had the original read to them, and they reported it had nothing to do with modern practice, but was only related to explaining ancient events.