Many modern polygamists and even some LDS Church members believe that Joseph Smith and/or other Church leaders have taught that exaltation requires polygamy. However, the revelation on celestial and plural marriage (D&C 132) teaches that the law and covenant that must be obeyed to gain exaltation is eternal marriage not plural marriage. In unambiguous language, verses 19–20 declare that a worthy monogamous couple sealed by proper authority will be exalted and shall be “be gods, because they have all power.”
The scriptures demonstrate that plural unions may be commanded, permitted, or not permitted depending upon the circumstances of God’s followers on earth. Importantly, unauthorized polygamy is not celestial marriage and creates adulterous relationships. When interpreting the significance of the 1890 Manifesto or other revelations such as those given in the 1880s, the only opinion that matters is that of the one man who holds the sealing keys. Without his authorization, no valid plural marriages can be performed.