I Will Command Otherwise

I owe this gem to a friend LE.

One small phrase in the Book of Mormon has been used to say that the book justifies the practice polygamy.

As it stands in the printer's copy it says:

"For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts. Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes. For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things. For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands."

Yet there was no punctuation in the original manuscript. The typesetter for publisher E. B. Grandin was John H. Gilbert who added punctuation to the book as he saw fit.

So if you throw John's punctuation out and rearrange the it you get something that makes more sense and doesn't obliterate everything Jacob is saying before and after the word "otherwise".

"I God delight in the chastity of women, and whoredoms are an abomination to me. This people shall keep my commandments or cursed be the land for their sakes for if I will raise up seed unto me I will command my people otherwise (in another manner). They shall hearken unto these things because I have seen the sorrow and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem and in all the lands of my people because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands."

The Nephites were trying justifying their desires by referencing their history and putting a religious "requirement" upon themselves to make the practice "godly" and saying it was "Abrahamic" (or Davidic) and a "trial."

They were trying to raise up a "righteous seed" by afflicting their wives though their own contrived "holiness". Yet the Lord is saying "If I want to raise up a righteous seed—I'll do it my way, not yours. I'll do it otherwise. I raise up righteous seed by bringing man into my presence through the veil and adopting them into my family, not by abominations which afflict the virtue of my daughters."

In the next chapter Jacob references the Lamanites and how their seed will be preserved despite their gross wickedness because of one thing—because they honor the virtue of their wives and practice monogamy.