Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
347: The Surprise of Section 132:  Michael Mathews II

347: The Surprise of Section 132: Michael Mathews II

‘Sarah Leading Hagar to Abraham’ by Mathias Stom (1615-1649(

Blogger Michael Mathews II  shares his exegesis of Doctrine & Covenants Section 132. 

While Mormons socially read Section 132 as pointing to the endurance of familial ties after death, Mathews argues, that there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case at all.  

Mormons are making of Section 132 and the Temple covenants something that is literally irreconcilable with the text and the language of the covenants.

The temple, he further argues, is the place where covenants to live into the promise of plural marriage under the domain of the male priesthood are contracted.

Link to Michael Mathews’ Blog ‘Section One Thirty-Two’


  1. Martine

    Great interview, Gina! A few months ago I read the current version of the endowment. I’ve not attended the temple nor had a recommend in 10 years. I used to be a fervent temple attendee. I’d heard about some of the changes but I found many more significant changes than had been reported.

    Along with studying a written version of the endowment–there’s no substitute for true understanding–I also reviewed the pre-2019 sealing verbiage. Hubby and I had a disagreement a couple years ago when I told him he had not given himself to me as I had. He was certain I was wrong. The written version didn’t suffice; I had to show him the video that’s available on the internet. He was crestfallen. But it was during my recent study of the old sealing ceremony that I realized we were never actually married to each other, just sealed to the New and Everlasting Covenant as Michael realized. Ever since, I’ve wanted a marriage ceremony. We’ve been married 46 years and although in good health I perceive that some things could change in the not so distant future and would like to actually exchange vows that include “in sickness and in health.”

    What I’ve not been able to locate is the current sealing verbiage. I’m sure it doesn’t really change anything behind the curtain but I gather it’s made to sound more egalitarian.

    I need to go read Michael’s blog now.

  2. The BoM teaches something different about sealings than what the LDS church does.
    This is the sealing power, to pronounce what heaven has already been decreed, because those who have the sealing power will do nothing with it except what the Father wants done. We know Nephi “sought [God’s] will and to keep [God’s] commandments” because God attributed this to Nephi in Helaman (LDS 10:4) (RLDS 3:115-116). In the next verse God adds more emphasis to this idea, “for thou [Nephi] shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will” Helaman (LDS 10:5) (RLDS 3:117).

    LDS supposed D&C 132:1 contradicts that we need to have real intent to receive answers in pray when remembering the supposed story of Joseph Smith being told by an angel with a flaming sword to practice it or die, beceause Joseph Smith was not going to.

    In countries were the civil marriage can’t be done in the temple the LDS church has forbidden sex until you are sealed in the temple if you didn’t want to wait a year.

    In conclusion the fact that LDS supposed D&C 132:40 contradicts so many verses in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, I take this verse as another example and evidance that the LDS supposed D&C 132:40 is not from YHWH through Joseph Smith but a concoction of Brigham Young and his cohorts.
    I also bring out DESIRE is another word for LUST which D&C 132 uses in verse 61.

  3. Jack

    There are many things in the scriptures that people read and gloss over without ringing any bells. When things don’t add up we should pause and ask some questions as you and Matthew have done. It is interesting that we can learn things by doing a little digging and formulate new ideas as to what is really going on. We often formulate opinions it is based upon our current belief window and what is on it. As we glean new information sometimes our views will change. For example:
    1) Wilford Woodruff’s Manifesto was purely a deception to fool the government so they wouldn’t take our property and he even stated that he was beating the devil at his own game. He had made statements that he didn’t to stop the marriages. One newpaper in his day claimed it was a revelation while the other with an ‘apostle ‘ on it said no, they were just saving their skins. As was pointed out on your show they continued the practice well after 1890.
    2) What if Joseph never practiced polygamy. THere is no contemporary support that he did during his life time, but all the affidavits were many years later when the Church was defending the practice in a court case involving the RLDS claim be the true church originating from Joseph Smith. Even the judges noticed the inconsistencies of the women claiming to be one of Joseph’s wives. See Brinkerhoff’s book on Spiritual Wifery and paper on Joseph’s monogamy. Also Joseph and Hyrum had made multiple statements against the practice and were excommunicating people for it, which was going to include members of the twelve, who had been practicing it for some time after getting exposed to it in New England among the Cochranites.
    3) Joseph’s sealing appears to be related to creating links between sealings on earth with the Father’s in Heaven as it related to the Abrahamic covenant, which extend into the eternities. This was not to our fathers who are dead in the spirit world but to Abraham, Issac and Jacob. It has to do with the adoption discussed in the New Testament.
    4) Interesting, the Book of Mormon is called the new covenant. DC 84: 57.
    5) Also consider that there is no original for DC 132. I believe it wasn’t revealed until 1852 or so and now written and canonized until the 1870’s and without a vote as I remember. There is no proof that it is Joseph’s document. There are multiple inconsistencies in it and was probably tampered with by Brigham to support the current state of things supporting polygamy. In support of the evidence that Joseph did not support it (several quotes by him on the subject) Emma also denied it. There was an assistant Church Historian that left Utah because Willard Richards was involved in changing Joseph’s words to support the doctrine being practiced. I believe his name was Wesley Waddell, (without looking it up). Also keep in mind that Brigham really disliked Emma and that is probably why you read such a negative comment against her in DC 132. I do not think a lot of this section is a revelation.
    5) There are many things in our church history that do not support the current narrative, what Joseph taught and even what we treat as doctrine today. They are not adequately addressed by the institution. Many things are taken out of context.
    6) When the Book of Commandments was changed to the D&C in 1835 some 703 words were changed, 1,656 new words were added, 453 words were deleted, for a total of 2,643 changes. Those are a lot of changes considering that the Lord had told Joseph and the Saints to “rely on the things which were written”, which would have been the unmodified words given and recorded in the original revelations. Multiple others besides Joseph made these changes, while Oliver and Peter who had been present for several revelations were not consulted at all (a concern to both of them).
    I have a testimony that the Book of Mormon contains God’s words and that Joseph was a prophet and seer, and that many things that we link to him are not true but are still propagated as it supports (as you point out) the doctrine of polygamy and multiple wives. I believe Jacob and the Lord in the D&C that it is an abomination and a great sin. Such a point would be hard for an institution to separate itself from the history it supported and a temple ceremony that is probably off target. Maybe we never really had Joseph’s true ceremony even from the beginning when Brigham put it together in Nauvoo. Remember that it was not written down until the 1870’s either. I think we are a bit off course, but the events of DC 85:7 and 112: 24-25 are still in our future. May you be blessed on your journey.

  4. Quentin (not Cook)

    I’m just catching up on your podcast, so coming to this a bit late. I’m an active member who has been to the temple and heard the new language, and I actually had a different take when I first heard it. I don’t think you’re wrong to read polygamy into the new wording, but I think the polygamy implications are actually unintentional. The phrase “God’s law” shows up in both the new endowment language and the new sealing language, and I believe it’s a response to the legalization of same-sex marriage. I think it was intended to slam the door on any notion that same-sex sexuality might be legitimate if the couple is legally married under “man’s law”. The phrase “God’s law” sounds to me like it was written by someone who fancies himself “God’s lawyer”, if you know who I mean. We know from his recent remarks in general conference that “God’s lawyer” has a pretty flippant attitude toward polygamy. He just hasn’t given it that much thought because he has other things to be worried about (like rank-ordering the two great commandments, among other things), so if there are polygamy implications in the new temple language, it’s purely by accident. Basically, because we don’t have anything other than D&C 132 to rely on as the doctrinal basis for Mormon understandings of eternal marriage, polygamy does indeed, as you suggest, get baked into everything, intentionally or otherwise.

    I should also note that it’s my understanding that the chastity language was also changed in the 1990 temple updates. I was endowed post-1990, so this is purely hearsay, but I’ve heard that pre-1990 it forbade “sexual intercourse” with someone other than your spouse, and it was updated to be “sexual relations”. I’ve heard that this was because some had used a very narrow definition of “intercourse” to find a loophole for other sexual activities (like the ones that inspired an infamous letter to bishops in the early 1980s, wink, wink). So, there is precedent for changes to the endowment being legalistic in nature, which is quite in character for today’s Mormonism.

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