On my way home from one of my classes today I was wondering what Joseph Smith would think about gay marriage. In jest, I thought to myself that he obviously didn’t have a problem with alternate forms of marriage, seeing as he had as many as 33 wives and certainly asked others to practice polygamy. As I was laughing at the irony there, I suddenly realized that, at least according to information the Church presents, I was wrong. Joseph Smith did have a problem with non-Puritan forms of marriage. So much so that he reportedly accepted polygamy only at sword point.
“When that principle [of plural marriage] was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith … he did not falter, although it was not until an angel of God, with a drawn sword, stood before him; and commanded that he should enter into the practice of that principle, or he should be utterly destroyed, or rejected, that he moved forward to reveal and establish that doctrine” (President Joseph F. Smith, “Plural Marriage for the Righteous Only-Obedience Imperative-Blessings Resulting”, Journal of Discourses, Vol.20, p.28 – p.29).
Even Brigham Young said, “Some of these my brethern know what my feelings were at the time Joseph revealed the doctrine; I was not desirous of shrinking from any duty, nor of failing in the least to do as I was commanded, but it was the first time in my life that I had desired the grave, and I could hardly get over it for a long time. And when I saw a funeral, I felt to envy the corpse its situation, and to regret that I was not in the coffin, knowing the toil and labor that my body would have to undergo;” (Qtd. in Brigham Young: American Moses by Leonard J. Arrington).
This made me wonder about how willing a Mormon prophet would be to change the definition (or allow for the evolution) of marriage. If these Mormon prophets had to be coerced by God to accept a form of marriage they found socially, emotionally, physically, and historically repulsive, then maybe the same would have to happen for a modern Church leader to accept gay marriage. I’m serious, bear with me here.
I feel like God Himself inspired me to accept gay marriage. It was hard at first, to reconcile that inspiration with what I had been taught, but I could do it because gay marriage was desirable to me intellectually and physically. But I could understand how someone who hated the thought of gay marriage so much and was so entrenched in the historical teachings of homosexuality that he wouldn’t even be able to receive that inspiration I received. Maybe he just wouldn’t be receptive to it, or maybe when it came it would be dismissed or fought against or even mistaken for Satanic influence. Maybe even the response could be “I’m not ready for this, God” or “We aren’t ready for this.”
The only thing, then, for me to wonder is why an Angel of God hasn’t appeared before Thomas S. Monson with a sword to command him to endorse gay marriage yet. I mean, now would be the perfect time! (I think this summer might have been better, but I’ll settle for now). I guess we all need to start praying that the sword bearing angel will come quickly and that Thomas S. Monson will heed his message.