FairMormon is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of the doctrine, practice, and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Question: Was Emma was promised "annihilation" if she didn't accept plural marriage?
(Redirected from Joseph Smith/Polygamy/Emma Smith/Emma to be annihilated)
Question: Was Emma Smith promised "annihilation" if she didn't accept plural marriage?
There is no "annihilation" in LDS doctrine: An earlier verse makes it clear that death will "destroy" all that is not sanctioned and endorsed by God
It is claimed that "In the revelation [D&C 132] Emma was promised annihilation if she failed to 'abide this commandment.'"
There is no "annihilation" in Latter-day Saint doctrine. One definition of "destroy" in the 1828 Webster's Dictionary is "[t]o take away; to cause to cease; to put an end to; as, pain destroys happiness." In 132:20 the Lord promises the exalted couple: “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue” (emphasis added). Rejecting God’s commandments makes people ineligible for exaltation and polygamy was commanded at that time (it isn’t today). Emma would be “destroyed” in the sense that she would not continue—or not be exalted. An earlier verse makes it clear that death will "destroy" all that is not sanctioned and endorsed by God, including marriage contracts (D&C 132:12-14). The section in a later verse then draws a distinction between being "destroyed" and "destroyed in the flesh." (DC 132:26)—thus some sinners may suffer physical "buffeting" by Satan while their marital relationship may remain sanctioned.
The scripture says,
And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law" (D&C 132:54.
The commandment given to Emma which she must "abide" is to "abide and cleave unto" Joseph. She is to remain faithful and supportive of her spouse. G.D. Smith's portrayal of this language applying to polygamy is false.
Other references to "destroyed"
Elsewhere, others said to be destroyed are those who have pretended to moral purity despite sexual sins (see DC 132:52,63).
A final verse says that "if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law." Note that God will destroy those who disobey—this is not a threat from Joseph about physical harm to Emma, and Emma certainly did not refrain from opposing plural marriage thereafter. She does not seem to have been frightened or intimidated.
This verse should be weighed with other revelation
There is no annihilation in Latter-day Saint doctrine. There is promises of a capping of our increase (which is to be damned) and there is punishment (but not eternal as we don't believe in a hell for those that tried to be righteous).
- George D. Smith, Nauvoo Polygamy: "...but we called it celestial marriage" (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2008), 29. ( Index of claims , (Detailed book review))
- Webster's Dictionary, "Destroy," Def. #6 <http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/Destroy> (16 June 2020).
<!—PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE—>