Excerpt from Holy Murder: Polygamy's Blood.

Deck drew a breath.

"See, most people think the Mormon Church outlawed polygamy. . ."

"That's what I thought."

"As I say, most people think that—they think the Church renounced polygamy. Not so. If you look at the official declaration itself—the Woodruff Manifesto—that becomes clear."

Deck opened the book he called the Triple Combination. "This is the 'Official Declaration—1.' It is the statement President Wilford Woodruff put into the official Mormon record at a General Conference of the Church in 1890. But you have to read it closely; it's carefully constructed to satisfy the federal government in order to prevent them from seizing the property of the Mormon Church. But it does not abandon the theology or philosophy of polygamy. It simply denies that they were at that moment "sealing" polygamous marriages."

Deck leaned forward holding the book in one hand and tracing lines in it with his right index finger. He continued. "Woodruff told the gathered Saints that he must submit to the pressure of the United States government or three things would happen: one, he would go to jail; two, the temples would be closed; and, three, Mormon property would fall into the hands of the government. Woodruff pondered that information from on high. Then he went before the people and asked them, in effect, 'Which is wiser: to continue to practice polygamy and have those things happen, or to cease its practice and remain out of jail, with the temples open, and the property intact?'"

"So," Jan said, "Everybody understood that they were playing a word game with the government. Polygamy was still God's plan for mankind, but the United States government forced it underground?"

"Absolutely. The Manifesto is—in a very real sense— a form of thumbing the nose at authority. And so, what really happened?"

Jan furrowed his brows. "It went underground?"

"Of course," Deck said. Do you think that all those men suddenly sent all their wives out into the streets? Of course not! High profile Mormons took action designed to give that appearance, but what happened was that it all became clandestine. Mormon patriarchs split their families up and housed them in several different locations, then moved among the families freely. Many members of the Church fled to Mexico—where, by the way, polygamy was not officially illegal and certainly not prosecuted. The Mexican government has never taken an interest in making monogamists of the many Mormon sects there. Others went to the deserts of southern and western Utah and into neighboring states."

"So in effect," Jan mused, "the truest Mormons continued the practice?"

"Bingo!"

"And in some way," Jan continued, "even the 'regular Mormons,' for lack of a better word, still believe in polygamy."

"Certainly, when they think of it at all. Polygamy, as a command from God is under temporary suspension—in practice. But it will certainly be resumed in heaven. It has to be. A recent billboard in Salt Lake City promoted a book about polygamy calling it 'Our sacred pioneer heritage.' Polygamy is still sacred to regular Mormons who believe it will one day be reinstated—either here on earth or in heaven. Tens of thousands practice polygamy in Utah and the state has no idea how to stop it. As a matter of fact, the ACLU and certain Mormon groups are attempting to get the courts to protect polygamy under the First Amendment."

Jan looked quickly at Deck who seemed to be waiting for himto ask a question.

"OK," Jan said slowly, "why do you say it has to be practiced in heaven?"

"Because the most central and distinguishing doctrine of Mormonism is the Mormon teaching of Eternal Progression."

"That's the idea that Mormon men who attain godhood will create and populate their own planets? Or something like that?" Jan asked.

"That's right. See, the central teaching of Mormonism is that men and angels and God are all the same kind of beings. God is further 'progressed' than you and I. But He is not a unique, totally 'other' being as—Christians, Jews, and Muslims teach. The most famous couplet in Mormonism, upon which all Mormon theology turns, was coined by the Prophet Lorenzo Snow, who said, As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may become."

"Well, even I can recognize that is pure nonsense." Jan said.

"Yes, of course it is, but it is a central theme of Mormonism—the Law of Eternal Progression. According to that theology people just keep getting better and better until they become gods."

"Well, OK." Jan was puzzled. "But what has that to do with polygamy?"

"Well, Eternal Progression could also be called Eternal Procreation."

"Say that again?"

"Well," Deck continued, "Mormonism's God procreates spirit children in heaven. Elohim and one of his plural wives procreated you, and me, and even Jesus Christ. Not to mention Lucifer, and Hitler, and Bill Clinton..."

"OK, I get it," Jan said through a sickly smile.

"OK, so then our spirits—procreated by a polygamous God in heaven are sent to earth and implanted into a human embryo created by human sexual intercourse."

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute! So we do not begin our existence at conception—I mean human conception?"

"Nope. We are simply transferred. Our spirits, which were previously created, have been waiting for the right couple to create a human body for them on earth. They are then transported to earth in order to—as Mormonism teaches—'get a body.'"

Jan scowled.

"Back up, Deck. You said everyone on earth was created spiritually by the god Elohim and one of his polygamous wives?"

"Yep."

"But there are six billion people on the earth. Somebody has said that maybe as many as fifteen times that many more have lived and are now dead. You're talking about a hundred billion people!"

"Don't you think I look at the World Population Clock on the Internet?" Deck joked.

"When you say spiritual offspring, what do you mean? You don't mean that this god. . ."

"A god by the name of Elohim, actually," Deck said.

"Yeah, but. . .you are saying that this Elohim was individually involved in some kind of. . .of. . ."

"Some kind of sexual act with his polygamous wives? I'm afraid so."

"Oh, come on!"

"Would you like a copy of my monograph 'Was the Virgin Mary Really a Virgin?'"

"Holy Toledo!"

"Precisely."

Deck sat quietly.

"Help me out here," Jan said.

"Just keep processing."

After a couple minutes Jan said, "You gotta be kidding!"

"Do I see the light of revelation in your eyes?"

"Polygamy!"

"Bingo! How else will a man destined for godhood create a world and, as Joseph Smith said, 'people it,' without polygamy?"

"This sounds like one of those impossible math problems. A hundred billion procreations at the rate of x per day equals y number of years of celestial sex."

"Quite a picture isn't it, Jan? One of my zealous acquaintances told me Elohim would have to have procreated 50,000 times a day for six thousand years."

Jan was slumped down in the big chair across the desk from Deck. He steepled his hands in front of his face and squeezed his eyes tightly shut. He thought his brain might explode. He sighed deeply. Finally he spoke.

"So Hansen is not a rebel—an outsider. . ." he paused, chewing his lip. . . "He's the True Mormon."

Deck nodded his head slowly. "From his perspective? Absolutely!"