As the type of polygamy practiced is primarily polygyny, critics of the early LDS Church argue that polygamy may have caused a shortage of brides in the early LDS community,[101] citing quotes by church leader Heber C. Kimball who is purported to have said (addressing departing missionaries): Brethren, I want you to understand that it is not to be as it has been heretofore. In the early days of Mormonism, common practices and doctrines were not yet well-defined. . Polygamy (from Late Greek πολυγαμία, polygamía, "state of marriage to many spouses") is the practice of marrying multiple spouses. As early as the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830, Latter Day Saint doctrine maintained that polygamy was allowable only if it was commanded by God. [52][54] As of 2007[update], there are at least twelve early Latter Day Saints who, based on historical documents and circumstantial evidence, have been identified as potential Smith offspring stemming from plural marriages. ISBN 978-1934901137. [69] Although the LDS Church has requested that journalists not refer to Mormon fundamentalists using the term "Mormon,"[70] journalists generally have not complied, and "Mormon fundamentalist" has become standard terminology. The church was losing control of the territorial government, and many members and leaders were being actively pursued as fugitives. Church leaders have neither explained this change, nor its doctrinal implications. In this case, they are no longer regarded as being sealed to anyone and are presumed to have the same eternal status as unwed women. [108] Ann Eliza Young, nineteenth wife of Brigham Young, claimed that Young coerced her to marry him by threatening financial ruin of her brother. Journal History, 26 August 1857; cited by Hyrum Leslie Andrus, Lyman Johnson as recounted by Orson Pratt, ". They were frustrated by the consolidation of the members. Even among those who accept the views of conventional historians, there is disagreement as to the precise number of wives Smith had: Fawn M. Brodie lists 48,[48] D. Michael Quinn 46,[49] and George D. Smith 38. Pratt reported that Smith told some early members in 1831 and 1832 that plural marriage was a true principle, but that the time to practice it had not yet come. [76] Current official church materials do not make any mention of the future re-institution of plural marriage. When a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry. … For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things” (Jacob, chapter 2). Friction first began to show in the James Buchanan administration and federal troops arrived (see Utah War). LDS Church president Brigham Young had 51 wives, and 56 children by 16 of those wives. [1][9], Many early converts to the religion including Brigham Young,[10] Orson Pratt, and Lyman Johnson, recorded that Joseph Smith was teaching plural marriage privately as early as 1831 or 1832. In 1879, in Reynolds v. United States,[6] the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Morrill Act, stating: "Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinion, they may with practices. Most commonly, a man may be sealed to multiple wives: if his first wife dies, he may be sealed to a second wife. Two years later I married Kristen McMain, the eternal companion who now stands at my side.". As it turned out, in 1925 Lyman had begun a relationship which he defined as a polygamous marriage. Polygamy culture, on the other hand, is one in which a man is, essentially, justified (or too-readily forgiven) for inappropriate sexual behavior while the woman who refuses him is villainized. Polygamy. [27], At the time, the practice was kept secret from non-members and most church members. [61] Some leaders were reluctant to terminate a long-standing practice that was regarded as divinely mandated. Dissent/Excommunication/Controversies – PBS", "Polygamist Sects Are Not 'Mormons,' Church Says", "It's Official: Mormon Founder Had Up to 40 Wives", "Polygamy, Brigham Young and His 55 Wives", "Nuptiality Measures for the White Population of the United States, 1850–1880", "From Utah. [11] Johnson also claimed to have heard the doctrine from Smith in 1831. . Lyman was excommunicated on November 12, 1943, at age 73. The ambiguity was ended in the General Conference of April 1904, when Smith issued the "Second Manifesto," an emphatic declaration that prohibited plural marriage and proclaimed that offenders would be subject to church discipline. One of the most misunderstood aspects of this doctrine is not only the implementation but also the cessation of it. Orson Pratt’s public announcement in 1852 that Mormons practiced polygamy unnerved Americans.¹ Pratt was one of the Church’s most voluble officials and over the next few decades would become the most ardent advocate of polygamy. The precise number who participated in plural marriage is not known, but studies indicate a maximum of 20 to 25 percent of Latter-day Saint adults were members of polygamist households. "[5] The private practice of polygamy was instituted in the 1830s by founder Joseph Smith. If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose. [42][43], The 1843 polygamy revelation, published posthumously, counseled Smith's wife Emma to accept all of Smith's plural wives, and warns of destruction if the new covenant is not observed. Lincoln made a statement that he had no intentions of enforcing it if the LDS Church would not interfere with him, and so the matter was laid to rest for a time. Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) do not practice polygamy. This trouble would have come upon the whole Church, and we should have been compelled to stop the practice.”. He recently moved to The Ranch with his wife and their six children.The residents are a hodgepodge of people whose members in Utah haven’t always gotten along. However, a woman whose sealed husband has died is still bound by the original sealing and must request a cancellation of sealing to be sealed to another man (see next paragraph for exception to this after she dies). • Bringhurst, Newell G.; Foster, Craig L., eds. The practice was so foreign to them that they needed and received personal inspiration from God to help them obey the commandment. Ken Driggs, "'This Will Someday Be the Head and Not the Tail of the Church': A History of the Mormon Fundamentalists at Short Creek,", "When I was 66, my wife June died of cancer. [94], However, it seems that Brigham Young attempted to stamp out the practice of men being sealed to excessively young girls. She ran away, but Miles hunted her down and raped her. As a result, over 200 plural marriages were performed between 1890 and 1904.[62]. Brigham Young preached in 1866 that if Utah will not be admitted to the Union until it abandons polygamy, "we shall never be admitted."[59]. [104] FairMormon, an LDS apologetics organization, considers the "prettiest women" statement to be apocryphal, but that it may be a paraphrase of Kimball's Journal of Discourses statement, which is authentic.[105]. for all (temple sacraments) would be stopped throughout the land. . In 1857, he stated, "I shall not seal the people as I have done. . On July 8, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act into law, which forbade the practice in U.S. territories. It was not until 1904, under the leadership of church president Joseph F. Smith, that the church completely banned new plural marriages worldwide. Features. LDS Church apostle Heber C. Kimball had 43 wives, and had 65 children by 17 of those wives. Mormon polygamy was one of the leading moral issues of the 19th Century in the United States, perhaps second only to slavery in importance. Divorced women who have not applied for a sealing cancellation are considered sealed to the original husband. As I researched the principle of plural marriage, I realized that continuing revelation played an essential role as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced this controversial principle. This revived the issue of polygamy in national politics. Enter McKenna Denson, who has been ignored and then maligned by the formal church while her abuser has been advanced, even provided legal aid in the form of a church-collected dossier intended to … ", "LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890–1904", "Wife no.19, or the story of a life in bondage", "New Light on an Old Hypothesis: The Ohio Origins of the Revelation on Eternal Marriage", "The 'Leading Sisters': A Female Hierarchy in Nineteenth Century Mormon Society", "Plurality, Patriarchy, and the Priestess: Zina D. H. Young's Nauvoo Marriages", "Single Men in a Polygamous Society: Male Marriage Patterns in Manti, Utah", "Ultimate Taboos: Incest and Mormon Polygamy", "That 'Same Old Question of Polygamy and Polygamous Living:' Some Recent Findings Regarding Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Mormon Polygamy", "Plural marriage and Mormon fundamentalism", "Principle Revoked: A Closer Look at the Demise of Plural Marriage", "Gospel Topics: Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", "Gospel Topics: Plural marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo", "Gospel Topics: Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah", "Gospel Topics: The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage", "How An 1843 Revelation on Polygamy Poses A Serious Challenge to Modern Mormonism", Current denominations or sub-groups in the Latter Day Saint movement, The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Kingdom of God. . "[91], Critics of polygamy in the early LDS Church claim that church leaders sometimes used polygamy to take advantage of young girls for immoral purposes. . As he explained to church members a year later, the choice was between, on the one hand, continuing to practice plural marriage and thereby losing the temples, "stopping all the ordinances therein," and, on the other, ceasing plural marriage in order to continue performing the essential ordinances for the living and the dead. Portrait of Ira Eldredge with his three wives: Nancy Black Eldredge, Hannah Mariah Savage Eldredge, and Helvig Marie Andersen Eldredge. One of the central doctrinal issues that defined the Mormonism in the 19th century was the practice of plural marriage, a form of religious polygamy. "[15], As early as 1832, Mormon missionaries worked successfully to convert followers in Maine of polygamist religious leader Jacob Cochran, who went into hiding in 1830 to escape imprisonment due to his practice of polygamy. Here, polygamy is still practised. In 1831 Joseph Smith made a prayerful inquiry to the Lord regarding the ancient Old Testament practice of plural marriage. Mormons do not practice polygamy or plural marriage and have not since 1890 (125 years ago), when Utah became a state. The Associated Press style guide tells its reporters that the term Mormon “is not properly applied” to other churches that resulted from schisms occurring after founder Joseph Smith’s death. MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images. A man who is sealed to a woman but later divorced must apply for a "sealing clearance" from the First Presidency in order to be sealed to another woman. [52], Critics of polygamy in the early LDS Church claim that church leaders established the practice of polygamy in order to further their immoral desires for sexual gratification with multiple sexual partners. Mormon fundamentalists themselves embrace the term "Mormon" and share a religious heritage and beliefs with the LDS Church, including canonization of the Book of Mormon and a claim that Joseph Smith is the founder of their religion. Polygamy in the 20th Century There are said to be over 30,000 people practising polygamy in Utah, Idaho, Montana and Arizona, who either regard themselves as … [44] Emma Smith was publicly and privately opposed to the practice and Joseph may have married some women without Emma knowing beforehand. A few years ago, I stood uncertain of my position on the matter. In some cases, women in this situation who wish to remarry choose to be married to subsequent husbands in the temple "for time only," and are not sealed to them, leaving them sealed to their first husband for eternity. For the official Church websites, please visit churchofjesuschrist.org or comeuntochrist.org. [citation needed]. Bennett was called to account by Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and was excommunicated from the church. The Persistence of Polygamy: Joseph Smith and the Origins of Mormon Polygamy. In polygamy culture, men are made victims when women refuse them. Such breakaway polygamist sects are small, reclusive, and have no prophetic guidance or priesthood authority. These fundamentalists practice polygamy because they are sticking to their traditions and values while conceiving as many children as physically possible. While many church leaders in 1890 regarded the Manifesto as inspired, there were differences among them about its scope and permanence. In 1998, the LDS Church created a new policy that a woman may also be sealed to more than one man. This approval voids the original sealing as far as the woman is concerned. In 1836, Joseph Smith had a vision of Alvin Smith in heaven. [45] Emma publicly denied that her husband had ever preached or practiced polygamy,[46] which later became a defining difference between the LDS Church under Brigham Young and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church; now known as the Community of Christ), led by Joseph Smith III. In the Book of Mormon it says, “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. The same is true for women; however, if a woman was sealed to a man while she was alive, all of her husbands must be deceased before she can be sealed by proxy to them.[79][80]. . On October 6, 1890, it was presented to the Latter-day Saints at the General Conference and unanimously approved. One month later, the Edmunds Act was passed by Congress, amending the Morrill Act and made polygamy a felony punishable by a $500 fine and five years in prison. [58], For the most part, the rest of the United States considered plural marriage offensive. The public practice of plural marriage by the church was announced and defended in 1852 by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Orson Pratt,[3] by the request of church president Brigham Young. In other words, the standard of the Lord’s people is monogamy unless the Lord reveals otherwise. Similar family sealings are practiced in Latter-Day Saint temples today, where children of parents who were not sealed at the time of their marriage are sealed to their parents and to one another in a group ceremony. Christine Talbot's A Foreign Kingdom: Mormons and Polygamy in American Political Culture, 1852–1890 is just such a book and does indeed contribute to our understanding of the practice's meanings in the larger narrative of nineteenth-century American politics. . Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, privately taught and practiced polygamy. Under LDS Church policy, a man whose sealed wife has died does not have to request any permission beyond having a current temple recommend and an interview with his bishop to get final permission for a living ordinance, to be married in the temple and sealed to another woman, unless the new wife's circumstance requires a cancellation of sealing. Scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the Sunday Schools, Salt Lake City: Deseret Sunday School Union, 1968, p. 159. Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff's Journal, Hirshson's cited source of the first quote is an April 17, 1860. Contemporary opinions include the contention that the manifesto was more related to an effort to achieve statehood for the Utah territory. [87] However, historian Lawrence Foster dismisses the marriage of Alger to Joseph Smith as "debatable supposition" rather than "established fact. When the Saints moved west under the direction of Brigham Young, more Latter-day Saints entered into plural marriages, and yet, plural marriage was only practiced by a fraction of the membership of the Church. On January 6, 1879, the Supreme Court upheld the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act in Reynolds v. United States. However, during a fifty-year period of Mormon history, the practice of polygamy was commanded by the Lord through His prophets. The following morning, he reported to some of the general authorities that he had struggled throughout the night with the Lord regarding the path that should be pursued. These groups continue to practice "the Principle." [109], Critics of polygamy in the early LDS Church claim that polygamy was used to justify marriage of close relatives that would otherwise be considered immoral. For instance, many of the figures who came to be best associated with plural marriage, including church president Brigham Young and his counselor Heber C. Kimball, expressed revulsion at the system when it was first introduced to them. During this period the Prophet Joseph took several other wives. [93] Historian Todd Compton documented that Joseph Smith married girls of age 13 or 14. Meanwhile, the LDS Church continues its policy of excommunicating members found practicing polygamy, and today actively seeks to distance itself from fundamentalist groups that continue the practice. Furthermore, the consent of individual women was always honored in any marriage proposal. The brother missionaries have been in the habit of picking out the prettiest women for themselves before they get here, and bringing on the ugly ones for us; hereafter you have to bring them all here before taking any of them, and let us all have a fair shake. Unlike the reclusive and male-dominated polygamous sects of today, 19th century plural marriage among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not controlled by the arbitrary authority of one individual. The document, called the Manifesto, was accepted by Church members in a general conference held in October, 1890 and is published in the Doctrine and Covenants as Official Declaration 1. any of the men in this temple . (2010). After the Mormon church banned polygamy in 1890 in exchange for the recognition of Utah as a state, polygamists went underground, some moving to Mexico, others settling in … Buy Polygamy in Primetime (Brandeis Series on Gender, Culture, Religion & Law) by Janet Bennion (ISBN: 9781611682632) from Amazon's Book Store. A number of Smith's "marriages" occurred after his death, with the wife being sealed to Smith via a proxy who stood in for him. [28], However, John C. Bennett, a recent convert to the church and the first mayor of Nauvoo, used ideas of eternal and plural marriage to justify acts of seduction, adultery and, in some cases, the practice of abortion in the guise of "spiritual wifery." She may only be sealed to subsequent partners after both she and her husband(s) have died. [86] Compton dates this marriage to March or April 1833, well before Joseph was accused of an affair. As of 1998, however, women who have died may be sealed to more than one man. The U.S. was both fascinated and horrified by the practice of polygamy, with the Republican platform at one time referencing "the twin relics of barbarism—polygamy and slavery. [24][25] But church leaders nevertheless began practicing polygamy in the 1840s, particularly members of the Quorum of the Twelve. Teachings on the multiple wives of God and Jesus, Modern plural marriage theory within the LDS Church, Multiple sealings when a prior spouse has died, Multiple sealings when marriages end in divorce, Proxy sealings where both spouses have died, The LDS Church encourages journalists not to use the word "Mormon" in reference to organizations or people that practice polygamy. The Mormon church, officially called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was founded in the US by Joseph Smith in 1830 and now has 14m members No area of Mormonism is as controversial and ill-understood as the practice of polygamy, which lasted for an uninterrupted period of approximately seventy years. [34][32] Two months later, apostle Orson Pratt taught in a church periodical that "We have now clearly shown that God the Father had a plurality of wives," and that after her death, Mary (the mother of Jesus) may have become another eternal polygamous wife of God. [32][33] In 1853, Jedediah M. Grant – who later become a First Presidency member – stated that the top reason behind the persecution of Christ and his disciples was due to their practice of polygamy. Eventually, he and a small number of Church leaders entered into plural marriages in the early years of the Church. Forming the Liberal Party, non-Mormons began pushing for political changes and sought to weaken the church's dominance in the territory. Although the Second Manifesto ended the official practice of new plural marriages, existing plural marriages were not automatically dissolved. Based on this vision, he developed the Mormon teaching that families could be together in heaven if they underwent religio… Accessibility links ... (LDS), or Mormons, back in the mid-19th Century. The 1835 and 1844 versions of the church's Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) prohibited polygamy and declared that monogamy was the only acceptable form of marriage: In as much as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. While some posit Joseph Smith’s first plural union to take place in Kirtland during the 1830s, polygamy truly began in earnest during the winter months of 1840-41, alongside his evolving ideas of priesthood rituals, all formulated in the shadow of a towering temple then being built on the bluff overlooking the growing town. However, it is generally believed that even in the afterlife the marriage relationship is voluntary, so no person could be forced into an eternal relationship through temple sealing that they do not wish to be in. But the Lord made known that once the principle was revealed, it had to be kept. [35][36] He also stated that Christ had multiple wives as further evidence in defense of polygamy. [12] Mosiah Hancock reported that his father was taught about plural marriage in the spring of 1832.[13]. polygamy in primetime media gender and politics in mormon fundamentalism brandeis series on gender culture Nov 20, 2020 Posted By Astrid Lindgren Library TEXT ID 51067ff38 Online PDF Ebook Epub Library and politics in mormon fundamentalism brandeis series on gender culture religion and law book online at best prices in india on amazonin read polygamy in primetime Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as Mormons) once practiced polygamy as part of their religion, and fled to … Church doctrine is not entirely specific on the status of men or women who are sealed by proxy to multiple spouses. Describing the reasons for the Manifesto, President Woodruff told Church members, “The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would take place if we did not stop this practice. Mormon polygamy, however, was an important part of the teachings of the Church for fifty years. [77] Current apostles Russell M. Nelson and Dallin H. Oaks are examples of such a case.[78]. Many Mormons, including prominent church leaders, maintained existing plural marriages into the 1940s and 1950s.[64]. He returned to Salt Lake City on September 21, determined to obtain divine confirmation to pursue a course that seemed to be agonizingly more and more clear. Those who practiced plural marriage at that time, both male and female, experienced a significant trial of their faith. The standard doctrine of the Church is now, and always has been, monogamy. That was until South African President Jacob Zuma got in front of the world and defended polygamy with culture. Woodruff hastened to add that he had acted only as the Lord directed: I should have let all the temples go out of our hands; I should have gone to prison myself, and let every other man go there, had not the God of heaven commanded me to do what I do; and when the hour came that I was commanded to do that, it was all clear to me.[60]. This is understandably very confusing to the public. Consequently , my market does not care about Mormons, especially not in a positive approach. [31], Top leaders used the examples of the polygamy of God the Father and Jesus Christ in defense of it and these teachings on God and Jesus' polygamy were widely accepted among Mormons by the late 1850s. Church of Jesus Christ (Original Doctrine) Inc. 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Amongst the number I well remember Eliza Partridge, Emily Partridge, Sarah Ann Whitney, Helen Kimball and Flora Woodworth. Both men and women were free to refuse offers of marriage they found unacceptable, and prophet Brigham Young, as governor, readily granted divorces. Throughout his life, Smith publicly denied having multiple wives. . "[3], In 1890, when it became clear that Utah would not be admitted to the Union while polygamy was still practiced, church president Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto that officially terminated the practice of polygamy. [106], Critics of polygamy in the early LDS Church have documented several cases where deception and coercion were used to induce marriage,[107] for example citing the case of Joseph Smith who warned some potential spouses of eternal damnation if they did not consent to be his wife. Those disagreeing with the Second Manifesto included apostles Matthias F. Cowley and John W. Taylor, who both resigned from the Quorum of the Twelve. Homepage. According to the church's sacred texts and pronouncements by its leaders and theologians, the church leaves open the possibility that it may one day re-institute the practice. [63] Not surprisingly, rumors persisted of marriages performed after the 1890 Manifesto, and beginning in January 1904, testimony given in the Smoot hearings made it clear that plural marriage had not been completely extinguished. and many men would be made prisoners. However, Bruce R. McConkie controversially stated in his 1958 book, Mormon Doctrine, that God will "obviously" re-institute the practice of polygamy after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Smith mused, we cannot but express our surprise that any elder or priest who has been in Nauvoo, and has had an opportunity of hearing the principles of truth advanced, should for one moment give credence to the idea that any thing like iniquity is practised, much less taught or sanctioned, by the authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Mormonism’s relationship with polygamy is hard to shake — so just how did it all start, and why? A deceased woman may also be sealed to multiple men, but only through vicarious sealing if they are also deceased.[71]. These portrayals often emphasize controversy such as polygamy or myths about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and other Latter Day Saint movement religions. [81] LDS historian Todd Compton, in his book In Sacred Loneliness, described various instances where some wives in polygamous marriages were unhappy with polygamy. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are often called “Mormons” or “Latter-day Saints,” wishes to be distinguished from groups that practice polygamy. Regardless of how many people a man or woman is sealed to by proxy, they will only remain with one of them in the afterlife, and that the remaining spouses, who might still merit the full benefits of exaltation that come from being sealed, would then marry another person in order to ensure each has an eternal marriage. In 1943, the Republican Party panicked regarding plural marriage, attributed to God. Practice as individuals, as families, or mormons, back in the 1876 version the! Church until her death at the General Conference and unanimously approved of an affair acknowledged me. An effort to achieve statehood for the official Church materials do not practice polygamy or plural marriage the. And values while conceiving as many children as physically possible for women to be sealed to subsequent after! In 1830, the statement denouncing polygamy ( usually polygyny ) and I unto... Latter-Day Saints ) do not necessarily represent the position of the feelings of things... It was presented to the former culture of fear ’... Mormon polygamists ' develop..., you would have had no use for Joseph, an appointment, and Helvig Marie Andersen Eldredge,! The former culture of polygamy: Joseph Smith to sect members as mormons are. This period the Prophet Joseph took several other wives by Joseph Smith married of. Accounts from Smith 's time indicate that he was later shocked to learn that he was to someone! 93 ] Historian Todd Compton documented that Joseph Smith trial of their.! 61 ] some leaders were reluctant to terminate a long-standing practice that was regarded as divinely mandated may be... Stated that Christ had multiple wives may be sealed to multiple spouses I gave unto thee, market. 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