Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CFBA: The Sister Wife by Diane Noble

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

The Sister Wife
Avon Inspire (June 22, 2010)

Diane Noble


When I first saw this book offered for review, I knew it was the most important book on this month's list for me to review. There is so much to say about Diane's latest novel. First, I will say her writing style is very good. Her research however is plainly one sided. It's clear that it was all done through Utah based Latter Day Saint's church records and history. What many might not know, is that the Utah Latter Day Mormons, are not the original church as founded by Joseph Smith Jr.

Joseph Smith Jr. was an inspired prophet and did receive and interpret the gold plates, or the Book of Mormon. Most of the historical instances she reports are accurate enough. However, Joseph Smith Jr. was NOT a polygamist. Nor did he claim to receive a revelation from God that plural marriage was to be instituted. It is true that some in the church were deceived into this practice by some very evil men, but Joseph was not one of them. In fact, he spoke loudly against the practice and many historians witnessed that. Also, the book of Jacob found in the Book of Mormon, speaks strongly against the practice.

But the word of God burthens me because of your grosser crimes.

For behold, thus saith the Lord, This people begin to wax in iniquity; 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.

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives, and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord,

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.

Wherefore, I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

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: For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women.

And whoredoms are an abomination before me: thus saith the Lord of hosts.

Further proof of this can be found in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church History, Vol. 2, chapter 26.

After Joseph Smith Jr. and his brother's murder, the church was shaken tremendously with grief. It was not long after this that Brigham Young stepped forward claiming to be the new, rightful prophet and led a large group of the saints west. This group became what is now the Utah Mormon Latter Day Saints. However, he did not have the right or the call to do this. Joseph Smith Jr's son, Joseph Smith the III, would become the next prophet. He did reorganize the church later and it was renamed the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (RLDS)

During all of the upheaval in the church, policies -like plural marriage- were accepted by Brigham's group. In order to legitimize his claims, documents were created in Joseph's name that were not real. Such as the supposed revelation about polygamy. Utah church records show that Joseph had many wives, but all those that were supposedly married to him, were married to him after his death by the Utah group. Emma was Joseph's only wife and he loved her dearly.

Sealings, or Celestial Marriages, as well as man becoming god, etc. are all creations by Brigham's group after Joseph's death. Those were also not of the revelations God gave to Joseph Smith Jr. All marriage vows are still stated as until death do us part. Secret names and all that are solely part of the Utah Mormon's doctrine.

Nowhere in the Book of Mormon does it teach those principals, just as they are not taught in the Bible. In fact, nothing in the Book of Mormon goes against the word of God in the Bible. They are two separate and divinely inspired books that together witness of Jesus Christ as our savior, the eternal Son of God and the only God to worship. One a record of the tribe of Judah, the other a record of the tribe of Joseph. Together they form a more complete picture of the gospel working within the tribe of Israel.

There is a distinct tone of derision toward the Latter Day Saints in this novel, and I understand that there should be a tone of disgust against anyone that would accept polygamy. However, it's important to understand that there needs to be a separation between the Utah Mormon's beliefs and what is the truth. In the Sister Wife, neither Gabe or Mary Rose read the Book of Mormon. Their belief or disbelief is based solely on assumption and hearsay. That is not acceptable. Also, there is an obvious point made that a miracle performed by Brigham Young is a sham. Brigham Young may have later become confused and pulled away from the original beliefs of the church, but before that time, he and many ministers in the church performed great miracles in the name of Jesus Christ. They can be found recorded in many places, and not just church history. Contemporary historians not of the church recorded a great deal about Joseph, his inspired work and the miracles that came through the restoration.
Second, I found it disturbing that in the prayers quoted in this novel, all non-Mormons pray in the name of Jesus Christ; but not once does a prayer given by a Mormon use the name of Jesus Christ. This is an inaccuracy. We are told in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon that no man comes unto the Father except it be through His Son Jesus Christ. That includes through prayer. Showing Book of Mormon believers as non-Christian, or implying that we don't pray in the name of Jesus, is false.

I believe in the divine inspiration of the Book of Mormon. In no way does it take away from my equally strong belief in the divinity of the Bible. The Book of Mormon does not REPLACE the Bible. Jesus Christ is my only savior and God.
For those that would seek to know more, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon and judge it for yourself and not dismiss it based on hearsay or rumor alone. You can read it online HERE. If you choose to buy a copy, click HERE. Please be aware, that the Utah Mormon church removed and/or changed portions of the book so that it would not conflict with their new doctrine. Especially the reference from Jacob mentioned above that speaks clearly AGAINST polygamy.
Diane has written an interesting story that is skewed by her one sided research. Her main characters were realistic and I felt the agony that Bronwyn and Mary Rose felt. I would be just as revolted and sickened by the idea of Plural Marriage. Although, I enjoyed the characters for the most part, I can't recommend the book due to it's inaccuracies. If you choose to read this book, I pray that you'll remember what I've shared and pray and ask Jesus to lead you to truth.
If you would like to know more about Joseph Smith Jr.'s testimony, you can read his experience in his own words by clicking HERE.

You can also read our Epitome of Faith HERE.


What if the man you loved told you God wanted him to take another wife? What if that woman was your best friend?

Set in the heart of the earliest days of a new nineteenth-century sect known as the Saints, The Sister Wife is a riveting account of two women forced into a practice they don't understand, bound by their devotion to Prophet Joseph Smith.

When Mary Rose marries Gabriel, neither of them could foresee how quickly the community would turn to the practice of plural marriage. Devastated when Gabe is faced with an order from the Prophet to marry her best friend, Bronwyn, Mary Rose tries to have the faith to carry through with the marriage.

But can she really be married to the same man as her very best friend? Can Mary Rose and Bronwyn face betraying both their husband and their God to do what they feel is right?

If you would like to read the Prologue and first chapter of The Sister Wife, go HERE.

Watch the book video!


Diane Noble is a former double finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for Best Inspirational Fiction, a finalist for the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and the Reviewers' Choice Award, and a three-time recipient of the Silver Angel Award for Media Excellence.

With more than a quarter million books in print, Diane feels incredibly blessed to be doing what she loves best—writing the stories of her heart.

For the last three years Diane has been honored to be lead author for the popular Guideposts series, Mystery and the Minister’s Wife (Through the Fire, Angels Undercover), and has recently returned to writing historical fiction. She is currently writing book two of her new historical series, The Brides of Gabriel. Book one is The Sister Wife.

Diane’s hometown is Big Creek, California, a tiny village nestled in the rugged Sierra Nevada back country. As a child, Diane’s older brother Dennis fueled her creative streak by entertaining her with his own gift of storytelling. Growing up without TV and iffy radio reception, Diane became an avid reader, inhaling more than one hundred novels—both YA and adult—in a single

year by the time she reached seventh grade. Her passion for reading continues to this day.

Now empty nesters, Diane and her husband live in the Southern California low desert, near a place known for the lush and beautiful gated communities of the rich and famous.


Edgy Inspirational Author said...

I have heard of the reorganized church. I only know details about the Utah sect and hundreds of people who belong to it. I did live near Palmyra growing up and everyone that I met in NY was from the church commonly known as LDS (Utah based) except for one older gentleman who said it was not the original church and that the one he belonged to was from the original church and different, but I can't remember what he said was different about it. So you are saying that the Utah sect taught that about Joseph Smith (he had more than one wife) and that it wasn't true? Interesting.

April Erwin said...

Right, contemporaries historians and many non-mormons stood up for Joseph and defended his virtue. The reference to church history lays out how the initial charges began. A Dr. John C. Bennet started the issue. He was an abusive and power hungry man. He hid the fact that he was married and that his wife had left him because of his abusiveness. He convinced the church members that he was honorable and then began secretly convincing gullible women that polygamous affairs were okay. When Joseph and other Church leaders discovered it, they called him on his sin and gave him opportunity to repent and stop his actions. He would for a breif time and then would return to his adulterous ways. Dr. Bennet gave signed affidavits in front of wittnesses that Joseph was not the one teaching this, nor was he involved in the same activities. It's on public record. However, when Dr. Bennet refused to remain true to his promises to stop his sexual perversions, he was excomnunicated. After that happened, he wrote a book, a smear campaign claiming that polygamy was Joseph Smith's doctrine. It was a lie.

Andi said...

I lived in Utah for 6 months with my parents. I attended their community church, at that church a former Mormon taught a class for those who wanted to leave the Mormon church and she showed the lies they had been told based on God's word. It was very interesting and eye opening. What saddens me is that there is no other "book" of God there is only one inspired word of God, The Bible 2 Timothy 3:16 and Christ never came to America. He ascended to heaven and that is where He is until He returns the same way He left, to bring His children home. While plural wives have been apart of the Mormon religion, the basis of the beliefs are The Book of Mormon and that Christ came to America which just by reading God's word we know that that did not happen.

April Erwin said...

John 10:16 "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

Both the old testament prophets and even Jesus himself speaks of of the other sheep or lost tribes that must be brought to the knowledge of the covenant. Ezekiel prophecied of the two records of scripture as well.

Ezekiel 37:15 "The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick and write upon it, for Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions; then take another stick, and write upon it, for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions;
And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these?
Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land;"

It's understood among Biblical scholars that the sticks refer to scrolls or records. The stick of Judah is the Bible or the record from the tribe of Judah. The Book of Mormon is a record of the descendants of Joseph - the tribes or Ephraim and Mannasah. The propheycy says that the two records will be brought together and joined each bearing individual wittness of their tribes and yet becoming one in message because their message doesn't differ. All doctrine agrees.

Isaiah chapter 29 spells out the entire story of the gold plates being brought out of the dust and given to Joseph Smith. Reading the story of the church's origins meets each point of Isaiah 29 point by point. You can learn more about it by going here.

II Timothy 3:16 States:

3:16 "And all scripture given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"

It doesn't say that the Bible is the only source of the inspirational scripture given by God.

Some say that because Revelations 22:18 Says: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book;" that that is evidence that God will reveal no more to his people.

Not true, John is saying that no man should add or change the words of his prophecy. Nor should anyone change the message of Jesus Christ. Deuteronomy 4:2 says the same thing. "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."

The Book of Mormon does not teach against any of the doctrines given in either the old or new testament.

My call would still be, if you haven't read the book and asked with a sincere heart to know if it is divine, then you can't say it isn't. Especially when there are scriptural and archeological evidences to support it's divinity.

Andi said...

Actually, having studied, and led a Precept study of Revelation - Revelation 22:18 means exactly that. Anyone who adds or takes away from God's word He will remove you from the tree of life. Proverbs 30:6 which is a reference verse says Do not add to His words or He will reprove you and prove you to be a liar.
Isaiah 29 is talking about a battle between good and evil. In vs 15 Isaiah goes on to say woe is them who hides their plans from the Lord. In vs 23-24 Isaiah goes on to say that when they see among them their children and the work of their hands they will keep my name holy, they will acknowledge the holy one of Jacob, and stand in awe of the God of Israel. Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will gain understanding.
As for Ezekiel, Joseph is the line of David. Jesse's favorite son. Jesse gave him the coat of many colors - his brothers got jealous and they threw him in the pit and sold him into slavery. He then became Pharoah's right hand man. Had it not been for Joseph later and his dream they would've all died in the famine. Jesus comes from this line both on Joseph his earthly father and Mary his mother.
I do have a copy of The Book of Mormon, it was given to my Gramma by one of her regulars at her motel. I have read through it and I know for me it is not divine or from God.

April Erwin said...

I don't have any problems with the scriptures you quoted, I believe they're true. However, I do have to disagree with how you have interpreted them. Since we don't seem to see eye to eye, let's agree to disagree. We can agree that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and our only way to Salvation.

Your Sister in Christ,

Anonymous said...

You write that the LDS (Utah Mormons) Book of Mormon is changed to have deleted the Jacob reference about plural wives. That statement just ins't true. Here is the quote from the LDS Book of Mormon at

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;
28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

April Erwin said...

Thank you for clarifying that. I had seen an old copy of a Utah book of mormon and it was not there. I'm glad to know that it is still included. I know that the official Utah church doesn't embrace plural marriage any more.

My biggest concern when posting this review, was to ensure that readers understood that neither the Book of Mormon or the original church believed in or promoted polygamy. Nor do they teach celestial marriage or men becoming gods.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I certainly don't want to be responsible for sharing incorrect information.

April Erwin said...

After speaking with a good friend who has studied the Book of Mormon and evidences of it for many, many years, he showed me some places where I should make things clearer.

First, I want to apologize to Anonymous. You're right, the Utah church did not remove the parts of Jacob. I mis-remembered a class I took many years ago. The Utah church did place a preface at the begining of the book, however. I quote "Jacob denounces the love of riches, pride, and unchastity—Men should seek riches to help their fellow men—Jacob condemns the unauthorized practice of plural marriage—The Lord delights in the chastity of women. Between 544 and 421 B.C. " This would lead readers to believe that Plural marriage is wrong unless God ordains it, and that is still false. The Brighamite church added this to legitamize the activly accepted and public polygamy going on between 1852 -1890.

Also, going back to Andi's statement about Ezekiel and Joseph being the line of David. That was a little confusing for me because I believe she's confused a few names. My friend helped me sort out what we believe she was stating. To quote my friend,

"Which Joseph and which David? Joseph the son of Israel was in his own tribe living perhaps 1700 or 1800 BC while David was in the tribe of Judah living 1000 BC. They lived hundreds of years apart.
Jesse was King David’s father just before 1000 BC, and Andi confuses Jesse with Jacob (Israel) who gave Joseph the coat of many colors. Joseph was the one thrown in a pit by his brothers and sold into slavery. Then Andi correctly calls Joseph by his own name. Andi then states “Jesus comes from this line both on Joseph his earthly father and Mary his mother.” I think that Andi means that Joseph and Mary come from the line of David, but totally mixes this up with Joseph and his father Jacob/Israel from the time of the famine in Egypt."

I appreciate my friends insight into this, it made it clearer for me as well, to understand what Andi was trying to say. In this instance, I would invite Andi to go back and re-read those scriptures.

I would also like to emphasize again, that the word of God is both unending and unchangeable. God is Alpha and Omega, both the beginning and the end. He is the Creator, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He spoke intimately to the prophets from Adam down to John the Revelator. If He is truly unchangeable, why would He choose to change His pattern and close His words of prophecy. He wouldn't. Remember, before the Bible (which means library) became the book is is today, there were many various books written by His prophets and followers. John the Revelator's comments about adding or removing to His words, applied directly to his revelation. There was no Bible at that time, nor did he know that his record would the be the final book in the Bible collection. Other books in the Bible make similar references.

Deuteronomy 4:1-2 (KJV & IV)
Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto
the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye
may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord
God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the
word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish
aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the
Lord your God which I command you.
(Emphasis added)

Proverbs 30:5-6:
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that
put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he
reprove thee, and thou be found a
(Emphasis Added)

Deuteronomy 12:32 (KJV & IV)
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou
shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
(Emphasis added)

(continued below...)

April Erwin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
April Erwin said...

If we were to take any of those references and enforce upon them to mean that God had closed His mouth to the prophets, we wouldn't have a majority of the Bible we study today.

I invite everyone that reads this to consider again the scriptures and ask God to show you truth. Read the Book of Mormon for yourself and ask in faith and an open heart if God will show you if it is true or not.

"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam, even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true;
And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost; and by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.
And whatsoever thing is good, is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is."
Moroni 10:3-6