I sat quietly in the celestial room of the temple thinking and praying about the direction my life had taken. If ever I needed divine direction it was at that moment.
The craziness started about 10 months before this experience. My husband owned his own business and had just gotten a new executive secretary at work. She was a beautiful blonde girl who was having troubles in her marriage and was inactive in the church. He spent a lot of time helping her with her problems and helping her feel the spirit and helping her have a desire to come back to church. He would come home and tell me about all of her struggles and his desire to really help her. I was pretty naïve and figured that because he was telling me all about it, this really was just about helping a fellow LDS sister in need.
Boy, was I wrong. As time went by, he began to tell me about how much love he felt for her and even that there was some sexual tension between them. He brought up the idea of polygamy and explained that he really felt like she was supposed to be a part of our family. He told me that he wanted to explore ideas on how to live polygamy without going against any policies of the church. I admit that even though I was a little repulsed by the idea, I was also intrigued. We talked about the doctrine of the plurality of wives and discussed the fact that it was a doctrine that was eternal with blessings associated with living it. We recognized that the policy of the church was that polygamy was not practiced but that perhaps there may be other techniques to live the doctrine. In all of our discussions, there was an overarching theme that this was something that God was inspiring us to research and learn about and consider.
As we talked about all of these things, I continued to be intrigued but wasn’t really sure on the details of how it could work. I assumed that because we were openly discussing it, there wasn’t anything inappropriate going on between the two of them. I figured he was just keeping me up to speed on their relationship. Wrong again. In an awful turn of events that involved him being out of town and her having to fly to where he was to bring some important documents that HAD to be signed in person…he went too far. Because of what had happened, he expected her to leave her husband and basically “marry” him. And by marry, I mean become his second wife somehow. Everything blew up. She quit her job and wouldn’t speak to him again. She was not in any way ready for that and consequently just disappeared. He came clean with me about what their relationship had been and confessed in startling details the events of that night. Needless to say, I was crushed. We spent the next month working through the craziness of the situation and the ideas of polygamy that we had discussed. It was heart wrenching and hellish.
Approximately one month after all this happened, my husband was interviewing another woman for the job that was now vacant. As they talked, their conversation turned from a job interview to life and religion and personal missions. He felt extremely connected to this woman and ended up telling her that he really felt that in order to fulfill his mission in life, he would have to live polygamy. She instantly agreed with him. At that moment, it was like the heavens opened and angels were singing. He realized that this was the woman he was supposed to marry and that the previous one had just been a distraction. Unlike before, this one was active in the church, she was endowed AND she came from a rather prominent family in the church.
He came home and told me that he really felt like God had been preparing him for this experience. I was stunned. After some appropriate anger and lashing out on my part, he convinced me that this was something that God wanted us to do. I jumped in with both feet. The three of us met in a park one night and I basically gave them permission to date. It was weird, but at the same time, I felt like God was somehow preparing us to be the pioneers of polygamy IN the church at this period of time. I honestly thought that perhaps God was preparing us because sometime soon, something would happen that would bring polygamy back.
As the weeks went by, I was a roller coaster of emotions! I tried to temper my jealousy and annoyance with spiritual thoughts and study of THE doctrine. One day I decided to go to the temple just to get some spiritual insight regarding what we were doing. I specifically wanted a sure knowledge that the path we were on was approved of God because it was becoming real hard, real fast.
After completing an endowment session, I sat in the celestial room praying harder than I ever had. I asked God if we were just crazy, and if maybe we weren’t deceived. I opened my eyes and looked over to the end table next to me and there was a set of scriptures. I had never noticed scriptures in the celestial room before and I picked them up and opened them. I turned right to section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Yep, that’s the one about plural marriage. I began to read. As I read, I felt like the Lord was talking directly to me: “Verily thus saith the Lord unto my servant Michelle, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines. Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter. Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.”
Bam. I continued to read about the Lord’s house being a house of order, not confusion, and details of how and when a man can marry a woman and that if a man and woman are sealed and either one of them commit a sin or transgression, as long as it’s not murder, they will still be exalted; they just have to pay for their sins. I read about going forward and doing the works of Abraham and entering into the law.
This was my unexpected spiritual experience. I fully expected the Lord to confirm my feelings that we were doing something wrong. Instead, I felt the same feeling I had felt every time I had testified of the church on my mission. I felt the same feeling that I thought to be the spirit that had guided me to this point in my life. Consequently, I couldn’t deny it and felt like God approved of what we were doing. I wrote in my journal that day, “I cannot describe the outpouring of the spirit that I feel. I feel the abundance of the universe and there is no room for feelings of scarcity and loss and negativity…I understand better and clearer the doctrine of having many wives. I can see the blessings and joy that are associated with it. I can see the higher law and it doesn’t have anything to do with giving anything up! By living the New and Everlasting Covenant of marriage to the fullest everyone comes away with more. There is more love, more commitment and more support. There is so much abundance, it is phenomenal . . . I know it, I understand it, and am prepared to live it. I want to live it . . . NOW.”
I don’t know what to do with that experience. As time went on I could not do it. I could not live it, I could not even pretend to try to live it. I decided that if God really did want me to live it, I would rather go to hell than continue in the path we were on. I am now blissfully divorced and quite happy in my freedom and all that entails. I don’t know what I believe anymore but I do know that what I felt that day in the temple was the same feeling that the entirety of my testimony was built on.