In 1882, the Juvenile Instructor Office published Charles William Penrose's short book "Mormon" Doctrine, Plain and Simple: Or, Leaves from the Tree of Life. Charles Penrose (1832-1925) later taught theology at Brigham Young Academy, because a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1904, and became a member of the First Presidency in 1911. In one of those 'leaves', the one dedicated to the subject of marriage, Penrose naturally takes a few paragraphs to explain plural marriage. In order to understand what he says later, one must know this:
No man or woman, separate and single, can attain the fullness of celestial glory. Perfection of being, happiness, exaltation or dominion, is unattainable by either sex alone. (Charles W. Penrose, "Mormon" Doctrine, Plain and Simple [Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1882], 48)
Men and women may be saved in a separate and single state, but they cannot be exalted into the fullness of celestial glory without union in celestial marriage, because that is a state of perfection and comprehends the gift of perpetual increase, in which there are endless dominion and the exercise of all the powers of immortal manhood and womanhood united as one in the everlasting covenant. (Charles W. Penrose, "Mormon" Doctrine, Plain and Simple [Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1882], 50-51)
Now, as for plural marriage in particular:
In the case of a man marrying a wife in the everlasting covenant who dies while he continues in the flesh and marries another by the same divine law, each wife will come forth in her order and enter with him into his glory. Is there any reason why this should not be so? Is not each of these wives entitled to her position in eternity, by virtue of the sealing power which made her part of the man? Why should one enter into the exaltation of the celestial world, and the other be relegated to singleness and servitude? They all become one in the patriarchal order of family government. And if this be the case in heaven, why should not similar positions so far as possible exist on earth? Is earth holier than heaven? If a man receives from the Lord more wives than one under the sealing ordinances of celestial marriage, where is the moral wrong? They belong to no other man, but are his by mutual consent of all the interested parties, and they live together in the marriage stage, one as much as the other.
In this position there are occasions for the exercise of patience, forebearance, charity, self-sacrifice and the exercise of all the virtues to a far greater degree than in any other. In this plural family relation, an experience can be gained that no other condition in life affords, and the parties who so live and keep the law will be, in the very nature of things, prepared for a wider sphere of dominion, and power, and dignity, and might in the eternal world, than those who have only experienced the monogamic condition. They will, therefore, if they endure unto the end, go forward into the highest degree of exaltation, while their posterity will multiply at an ever-increasing ratio, until worlds will be filled by their generations and they will ascend to the majesty and splendor of the Gods on high. (Charles W. Penrose, "Mormon" Doctrine, Plain and Simple [Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1882], 51-52)
What sort of view of women and of marriage is embodied in Penrose's writing? Given how he argues for eternal polygyny, how might he approach the relatively few instances of genuine polyandry in LDS history, such as Joseph Smith's marriages to a number of already-married women? What does one make of Penrose's justification of plural marriage? For Latter-day Saints in particular, how do you approach his stated rationale given that earthly polygamy is now forbidden by the mainstream LDS Church?