1 The words which Jacob, the brother of Nephi, spake unto the people of Nephi, after the death of Nephi:
2 Now, my beloved brethren, I, Jacob, according to the responsibility which I am under to God, to magnify mine office with soberness, and that I might rid my garments of your sins, I come up into the temple this day that I might declare unto you the word of God. [The Nephite Temple was similar to the Temple of Solomon, with an outer court layer where the people could gather to be taught.]
3 And ye yourselves know that I have hitherto been diligent in the office of my calling; but I this day am weighed down with much more desire and anxiety for the welfare of your souls than I have hitherto been.
4 For behold, as yet, ye have been obedient unto the word of the Lord, which I have given unto you. [It sounds like it has been a while since he has had to gather the people to make such an announcement or teach them.]
5 But behold, hearken ye unto me, and know that by the help of the all-powerful Creator of heaven and earth I can tell you concerning your thoughts, how that ye are beginning to labor in sin, which sin appeareth very abominable unto me, yea, and abominable unto God. [An “abomination” is a sin of power and usually is tied to something of a sexual nature that makes unholy that which is holy.]
6 Yea, it grieveth my soul and causeth me to shrink with shame [embarrassing] before the presence of my Maker, that I must testify unto you concerning the wickedness of your hearts.
7 And also it grieveth me that I must use so much boldness of speech concerning you, before your wives and your children, many of whose feelings are exceedingly tender and chaste and delicate before God, which thing is pleasing unto God; [It is also embarrassing to your wives and children.]
8 And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul. [They are expecting to hear words of rejoicing, but no.]
9 Wherefore, it burdeneth my soul that I should be constrained, because of the strict commandment which I have received from God [a direct revelation that cannot be neglected], to admonish you according to your crimes, to enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded, instead of consoling and healing their wounds; and those who have not been wounded, instead of feasting upon the pleasing word of God have daggers placed to pierce their souls and wound their delicate minds.
10 But, notwithstanding the greatness of the task, I must do according to the strict commands of God, and tell you concerning your wickedness and abominations, in the presence of the pure in heart [without sin], and the broken heart [all to God, repenting], and under the glance of the piercing eye of the Almighty God.
11 Wherefore, I must tell you the truth according to the plainness of the word of God. For behold, as I inquired of the Lord, thus came the word unto me [Direct questions yield the best answers.], saying: Jacob, get thou up into the temple on the morrow, and declare the word which I shall give thee unto this people.
12 And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.
13 And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they. [The Nephites had begun to divide into classes according to their wealth. This places a wedge amongst the people. We know that having riches isn’t in itself a sin, but when we become proud and callous to others it becomes a cord that binds us to this earth. The test for those who acquire wealth is that they can view their wealth as a stewardship of the Lord and not a sign of their status.]
14 And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you.
15 O that he would show you that he can pierce you, and with one glance of his eye he can smite you to the dust! [A strong way for Jacob to express the judgment of God.]
16 O that he would rid you from this iniquity and abomination. And, O that ye would listen unto the word of his commands, and let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls! [Many hope and pray for wealth, but it is perhaps one of the most difficult trials for those who experience it.]
17 Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you. [If you view your riches as a stewardship it is easier to do this. You are not expected to be the Bishop’s Storehouse. The Lord will inspire you by the Spirit as to how you can meet this commandment.]
18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
We usually think of riches in terms of money and the things money can buy. However, there are many forms of riches that can lead to pride. Anything that causes one to feel greater than another. This can be our physical beauty, our talents, our family heritage, our church callings, our status in career choice, our vehicle, our clothes, our smile, our intelligence, our experience of the world, our gender, our political affiliation, our friends and associates, and more. None of these things in themselves is sin, but when we use them to place ourselves in a higher class and look down on our brothers and sisters it is damnable to our spirits.
19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. [The point of this scripture is that God will bless His children with the riches of the world if we seek them for righteous purposes. Righteous, meaning it is His will. There are many among the chosen of God who are not called to have the riches of the world in this life, yet are indeed rich. Satan also blesses his followers with riches for the opposite reasons.]
One nasty unbelief that is common amongst those who follow Christ is that wealth is a sign of someone’s status with God. This is nurtured by the culture of ecclesiastical leaders that come from the high income and career ladders of the world. I’m reminded that Jesus chose from amongst the poor to be his Apostles. Part of the attribute of charity is to see others the way God sees them. We must look beyond the outward appearance.
20 And now, my brethren, I have spoken unto you concerning pride; and those of you which have afflicted your neighbor, and persecuted him because ye were proud in your hearts, of the things which God hath given you, what say ye of it? [What are you going to do about it?]
21 Do ye not suppose that such things are abominable unto him who created all flesh? And the one being is as precious in his sight as the other. And all flesh is of the dust; and for the selfsame end hath he created them, that they should keep his commandmentsand glorify him forever.
22 And now I make an end of speaking unto you concerning this pride. And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly because of you. [It always helps to start with the less bad news before you hit them with the whopper.]
23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity [Sin is to be out of harmony with God’s law. Iniquity is to do something that is highly inappropriate, this word implies something of a grosser nature.]; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.
24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. [This is a very direct statement from a prophet of the Lord. He doesn’t go into any detail regarding David and what he did, yet clearly teaches to his people that they are not to do this thing.]
25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.
26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. [They are commanded not to have polygamous relationships like “them of old.” This would include those who excuse their actions by citing Abraham and Jacob.]
27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; [This is very clear. Only one wife, no concubines, no exceptions.]
28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women [honoring women with purity]. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
This verse fills my heart with joy as I consider the Lords love for his daughters. Men are to honor His daughters in how they respect, nurture, and serve them. Men who exploit women for sexual appetites or anything else are separating themselves from God. A man and woman who honor each other equally are preparing themselves for exaltation. This is God’s purpose for an eternal marriage. The relationships that are nurtured in this life have the potential to become eternal in the worlds to come if we keep our covenants to each other and God. The temple marriage is an earthly ordinance which only has merit if it is made perfect by the spiritual marriage ordinance, which is performed by Christ Himself.
29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.
30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me [establish a new branch of Israel because you have become ripe in iniquity], I will command my people [from the House of Israel]; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things. [And they shall follow the path that you have not.]
This verse is often used as a caveat to make exception for this commandment.
What does it mean “to raise up seed unto me?” It is far more than to expedite the number of children born to a family who worships Jesus. The only time “a people” have been commanded to have a polygamous marriage was in the case of the people of Israel. Moses stated that a man was to marry his brother’s widow. It was part of the law to prevent these women from becoming destitute. Brigham Young established polygamy as a law among the LDS. This broke from the teachings of Joseph Smith, as the church made polygamy its core doctrine until it was ended in 1890, 46 years after Joseph was murdered. Section 132 was the revelation cited as the source of this commandment.
31 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.
32 And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.
33 For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction; for they shall not commit whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts.
The Lord doesn’t allow unrighteous polygamy to continue amongst his people when it takes hold, because of the prayers of his fair daughters. Either it is snuffed out, or they are visited with destruction.
34 And now behold, my brethren, ye know that these commandments were given to our father, Lehi; wherefore, ye have known them before; and ye have come unto great condemnation; for ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done. [Lehi also taught against polygamy.]
35 Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds. [How does a “heart die?” When there no longer exists any trust between a husband and wife, or a parent and child, the heart cannot be fixed. There is a difference between forgiveness and trust. Forgiveness is letting go of the pain. We receive forgiveness from the Lord when he “lets go of our sins,’ but we must still forgive ourselves. For those who have had their hearts killed by an abuser, they can let go, but are not required to trust them. If they can gain a spouse’s trust again the marriage can be rebuilt. For those dealing with a broken marriage it is a difficult thing to determine how to move forward. The Lord makes all things right according to our faith.]