Oh, there he goes off to his room to write that hit song "Alone in my principles."
Question #90412 posted on 10/01/2017 7:20 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I was reading my scriptures today and a footnote took me to D&C 132. As I started to read it, it mentioned that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, David, Solomon, and Moses had multiple wives or concubines. My question is about Moses and Isaac. Were they in polygamist marriages? From my research (small amounts of googling) it looks like Moses was maybe married to two different women, but it said it was likely his first wife had died when he married his second. But from all I can tell and remember about Isaac's story is that he was married to Rebekah. Why is he listed in this section?



Dear confused,

I’ve recently started studying polygamy in the early LDS Church in depth, but nothing about polygamy in the Old Testament, so this was the perfect question!

So you are right about Isaac—according to the Wikipedia page on Isaac, “Isaac is unique among the patriarchs for remaining faithful to his wife, and for not having concubines.” We could say Joseph received revelation that Isaac did have wives or concubines not mentioned in the scriptures, but if you’re looking in the Bible you won’t find anything to back that up.

Later in the section it directly talks about Isaac’s sacrifice and uses it as a justification for polygamy. Though D&C 132:1 does make it sound like Isaac was practicing polygamy, perhaps that reference to his name was simply setting up the analogy which was used later in the section—what God says is always right, sometimes sacrifice is necessary. (Admittedly, Isaac did escape the knife while Mormon women and men had to suffer through it, so the analogy isn’t quite perfect.)

There is a possible example for Moses practicing polygamy on Fair Mormon—in Exodus and Numbers it references two different women Moses married, though Fair Mormon wasn’t certain if they were the same person. However, there’s no mention of Moses having two wives at one time.

It looks like your memory and research were right, though it is possible there's more to the story we don't now know!

-guppy of doom