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Does Book of Mormon Polygamy condone adultery?

Todd Noall

Todd Noall

Source Expert

Todd Noall is an author and religious scholar at Mormonism Explained with a focus on the history and theology of religion.

Fact Checked by Kevin Prince

Kevin Prince

Source Expert

Kevin Prince serves as the Source Authority at Mormonism Explained. Mr. Prince is a religious scholar as well as a technology industry CEO and entrepreneur.

Updated July 3, 2024

The topic of polygamy is addressed in the Book of Mormon. Mormons believe that Joseph Smith received an ancient record of the people from the Americas and translated it into English. Smith would later practice Joseph Smith polygamy.

In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Jacob chastises the people for not practicing monogamy. In this account, Jacob mentions that the biblical kings David and Solomon practiced polygamy. However, at some point, they took the practice of polygamy too far. This is corroborated by the biblical record, in which David, authorized by God, marries many women. However, David is later condemned for his relationship with Bathsheba and for killing her husband Uriah. Solomon is also condemned for his relationships with foreign women, who turned his attention to foreign god and away from the God of Israel. 

After Jacob makes the case that David and Solomon’s practice of polygamy was abominable to God, he makes a caveat to his argument against polygamy. Jacob states that the Lord sometimes authorizes the practice of polygamy in order to “raise up seed” to the Lord (see Jacob 2:27-30). This is the only time that polygamous marriage is mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

  • References
    1. Jacob 2:23-24
    2. 2 Samuel 11-12
    3.  1 Kings 11:1-8