"[5] The private practice of polygamy was instituted in the 1830s by founder Joseph Smith. [58], For the most part, the rest of the United States considered plural marriage offensive. For the generalized concept, see. Daynes, Kathryn M. "More Wives Than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910." [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. On January 6, 1879, the Supreme Court upheld the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act in Reynolds v. United States. 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. Fundamentalist Mormons believe that multiple wives (at least 3) are necessary to get into heaven, but there's no limit. "Unlawful cohabitation," in which the prosecution did not need to prove that a marriage ceremony had taken place (only that a couple had lived together), was a misdemeanor punishable by a $300 fine and six months imprisonment. [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. [52][54] As of 2007[update], there are at least twelve early Latter Day Saints who, based on historical documents and circumstantial evidence, have been identified as potential Smith offspring stemming from plural marriages. 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. The Jeffs. Mormon psychologist Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, who studied this complicated phenomenon for her dissertation, discussed her research on the issue and explained that not all Mormon women deal with that … [51] One historian, Todd M. Compton, documented at least 33 plural marriages or sealings during Smith's lifetime. Without being able to appear publicly, the leadership was left to navigate "underground.". 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. The document was later edited by George Q. Cannon of the First Presidency and others to its present 356 words. These groups continue to practice "the Principle." They were frustrated by the consolidation of the members. [61] Some leaders were reluctant to terminate a long-standing practice that was regarded as divinely mandated. The doctrine authorizing plural marriage was published in the 1876 version of the LDS Church's Doctrine and Covenants. He was the eighth … as Smith took Desdemona as a plural wife and became part of an early group wives taken by Smith After Smiths death, Desdemona married Ezra T. Benson on January 26, 1846, in the Nauvoo Temple The marriage was only "for time", instead of being for "time and all eternity", meaning that Desdemona was sealed to Smith in the afterlife but would be married to Benson until one of them died. A man may be sealed to more than one woman. Church of Jesus Christ (Original Doctrine) Inc. 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Receiving clearance does not void or invalidate the first sealing. This information includes quotes from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.This is a work published under the supervision of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS church and produced in 1992 under the direction of an editorial board comprised primarily of BYU … Although the Second Manifesto ended the official practice of new plural marriages, existing plural marriages were not automatically dissolved. The founder of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith, wed as many as 40 wives, including some who were already married and one as young as 14 years old, the church acknowledged in a surprising new essay. 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. The possibility for women to be sealed to multiple men is a recent policy change enacted in 1998. A deceased woman may also be sealed to multiple men, but only through vicarious sealing if they are also deceased.[71]. 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. In the paragraph immediately following the above quote, Kimball said: The principle of plurality of wives never will be done away. Church doctrine is not entirely specific on the status of men or women who are sealed by proxy to multiple spouses. How Does the 25th Amendment Work — and When Should It Be Enacted? Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff's Journal, Hirshson's cited source of the first quote is an April 17, 1860. She may only be sealed to subsequent partners after both she and her husband(s) have died. As such, best estimates have it that men with two or more wives composed only around five to 15 percent of Mormon communities. There are at least two possibilities: Critics of polygamy in the early LDS Church claim that plural marriages produced unhappiness in some wives. They would not be equally yoked together . Divorced women may also be granted a cancellation of sealing, even though they do not intend to marry someone else. The Salt Lake Tribune estimates there may be as many as 37,000 Mormon fundamentalists, with less than half living in … She eventually escaped, and filed a lawsuit against Miles that reached the Supreme Court and became a significant case in polygamy case law. [84][85] Critics also assert that Joseph Smith instituted polygamy in order to cover up an 1835 adulterous affair with a neighbor's daughter, Fanny Alger, by taking Alger as his second wife. [92] Historian George D. Smith studied 153 men who took plural wives in the early years of the Latter Day Saint movement, and found that two of the girls were thirteen years old, 13 girls were fourteen years old, 21 were fifteen years old, and 53 were sixteen years old. 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]. [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." The practice of plural marriage, or polygamy, in Mormonism goes back to Joseph Smith, who in 1843 said he received an eternally binding commandment from God that men should take multiple wives. Some sisters have had revelations that when this time passes away and they go through the veil every woman will have a husband to herself. [74][75] This echoes earlier teachings by Brigham Young that the primary purpose of polygamy was to bring about the Millennium. [82] Critics point to the fact that church leaders practiced polygamy in secret from 1833 to 1852, despite a written church doctrine (Doctrine and Covenants 101, 1835 edition) renouncing polygamy and stating that only monogamous marriages were permitted. 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. Before marriage it's this bad thing, this negative thing, this thing you avoid. Daynes, Kathryn M. Review of Mormon Odyssey: The Story of Ida Hunt Udall, Plural Wife, by Maria S. Ellsworth. ; Polygamy and its Fruits—The Missionaries—The Pony Express—More Pugnacious Preaching—Death of a Prominent Physician—The Season", "Heber C. Kimball says missionaries are 'picking out the prettiest women, "The Odyssey of a Latter-day Prophet: Wilford Woodruff and the Manifesto of 1890", "History of Mormonism: An Open Letter to Brigham Young", "Fanny Alger Smith Custer, Mormonism's First Plural Wife? The reason many people associate Mormonism with polygamy is that the Church did support plural marriage until 1890. [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. Polygamy also exists in the here and now. [87] However, historian Lawrence Foster dismisses the marriage of Alger to Joseph Smith as "debatable supposition" rather than "established fact. In 1998, the LDS Church changed the policy and now also … [27], At the time, the practice was kept secret from non-members and most church members. This question really stems from the historical presence of polygamy in Mormonism. Journal History, 26 August 1857; cited by Hyrum Leslie Andrus, Lyman Johnson as recounted by Orson Pratt, ". In 1998, the LDS Church created a new policy that a woman may also be sealed to more than one man. Joseph Smith introduced plural marriage early … As it turned out, in 1925 Lyman had begun a relationship which he defined as a polygamous marriage. The practice of plural marriage by early Latter-day Saints did lead to an increase in the number of children born to Church members. LDS Church apostle Heber C. Kimball had 43 wives, and had 65 children by 17 of those wives. First, insulting innocent females, and when they resented the insult, these monsters in human shape would assail their characters by lying, and perjuries, with a multitude of desperate men to help them effect the ruin of those whom they insulted, and all this to enable them to keep these corrupt practices from the world. [2][3] Today, various denominations of fundamentalist Mormonism continue to practice polygamy.[4]. However, in some circumstances, men and women may be sealed to multiple spouses. [102], On another occasion, he said "You are sent out as shepherds to gather sheep together; and remember that they are not your sheep ... do not make selections before they are brought home and put into the fold. Even if people did not practice polygamy, they would have their rights revoked if they confessed a belief in it. Joseph Smith publicly condemned polygamy, denied his involvement in it, and participants were excommunicated, as church records and publications reflect. What Does George Soros' Open Society Foundations Network Fund? 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. If his wife dies, he may enter another celestial marriage, and be sealed to both his living wife and deceased wife or wives. "[16] The majority of what became the Quorum of the Twelve in 1835 attended Mormon conferences held in the center of the Cochranites in 1834 and 1835. Two years later I married Kristen McMain, the eternal companion who now stands at my side.". [90] His biographer writes that he "became sick in body, but his mental wretchedness was too great to allow of his retiring, and he would walk the floor till nearly morning, and sometimes the agony of his mind was so terrible that he would wring his hands and weep like a child. Contemporary opinions include the contention that the manifesto was more related to an effort to achieve statehood for the Utah territory. [11] Johnson also claimed to have heard the doctrine from Smith in 1831. 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. A 12 July 1843 polygamy revelation on plural marriage, attributed to. Young famously stated that after receiving the commandment to practice plural marriage in Nauvoo, he saw a funeral procession walking down the street and he wished he could exchange places with the corpse. During this period the Prophet Joseph took several other wives. [3] It also revoked the right of polygamists to vote or hold office and allowed them to be punished without due process. Lyon's mother, Sylvia Sessions Lyon, left her daughter a deathbed affidavit telling her she was Smith's daughter.[55]. According to the Mormon Church, which is officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, polygamy or plural marriage was practiced a long … 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. These sealings create effective plural marriages that will continue after death. [30], The practice was publicly announced in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, in 1852, some five years after the Mormons arrived in Utah, and eight years after Smith's death. There is a subtle difference between "sealing" (which is a Mormon priesthood ordinance that binds individuals together in the eternities), and "marriage" (a social tradition in which the man and woman agree to be husband and wife in this life). [77] Current apostles Russell M. Nelson and Dallin H. Oaks are examples of such a case.[78]. In the early days of Mormonism, common practices and doctrines were not yet well-defined. Over time, many of those who rejected the LDS Church's relinquishment of plural marriage formed small, close-knit communities in areas of the Rocky Mountains. The Latter-day Saints' practice of polygamy has been controversial, both within Western society and the LDS Church itself. How many husbands can a Mormon have? In 1887, the Edmunds–Tucker Act allowed the disincorporation of the LDS Church and the seizure of church property; it also further extended the punishments of the Edmunds Act. Emma Smith claimed that the very first time she ever became aware of the 1843 polygamy revelation was when she read about it in Orson Pratt's publication The Seer in 1853.[47]. But rhetoric continued, and polygamy became an impediment to Utah being admitted as a state. Brown’s wife … Some Mormons marry and have more than one wife, but this is not accepted by the Mormon Church, which does not accept polygamy or plural marriage. No Oral Sex. Old Father Alread brought three young girls 12 & 13 years old. It is still the practice of monogamous Mormon couples to be sealed to one another. As a result, over 200 plural marriages were performed between 1890 and 1904.[62]. [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. Originally, the Mormon faith was hardly the faith of prudes. He recalled that "I was not desirous of shrinking from any duty, nor of failing in the least to do as I was commanded, but it was the first time in my life that I had desired the grave, and I could hardly get over it for a long time. [52] Richard Lloyd Anderson and Scott H. Faulring came up with a list of 29 wives of Joseph Smith. [86] Compton dates this marriage to March or April 1833, well before Joseph was accused of an affair. A Mormon is only allowed to have one wife, according to the Book of Mormon. When a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry. 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. [7] Although this Manifesto did not dissolve existing plural marriages, relations with the United States markedly improved after 1890, such that Utah was admitted as a U.S. state in 1896. [37][32] In the next two years the apostle Orson Hyde also stated during two general conference addresses that Jesus practiced polygamy[38][39][32] and repeated this in an 1857 address. Spurred by popular indignation, the U.S. government took a number of steps against polygamy; these were of varying effectiveness. Frequently Asked Questions . Despite this, many people still hold the misconception that all Mormons are involved in polygamous relationships. As of 1998, however, women who have died may be sealed to more than one man. 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. 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. This revived the issue of polygamy in national politics. Doctrine and Covenants (1835 ed. In other religions, some men are allowed to have up to four wives. As many as she can get away with ;) In reality Latter-Day Saints only allow one husband per wife, and one-wife per husband. According to church policy, after a man has died, he may be sealed by proxy to all of the women to whom he was legally married while he was alive. Then all of a sudden you get married and it's this very positive thing," Willoghby told host Nancy Redd . [67], Mormon fundamentalists believe that plural marriage is a requirement for exaltation and entry into the highest level of the celestial kingdom. First, we have Rulon Jeffs (that's him on the left with two of his wives). Church leaders have neither explained this change, nor its doctrinal implications. She returned to Utah and participated in a wedding, only to find out after the ceremony that Miles was already married. Currently Mormons can only have 1 wife. Joseph Smith had 34 wives, … His wife Emma was cognizant of the fact of some, if not all, of these being his wives, and she generally treated them very kindly. In the 1940s, LDS Church apostle Mark E. Petersen coined the term "Mormon fundamentalist" to describe such people. [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. 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. Spurred by popular indignation, the U.S. government took a number of steps against polygamy; these were of varying effectiveness. One third of the women of marriageable age and nearly all of the church leadership were involved in the practice. Many contemporary accounts from Smith's time indicate that he engaged in sexual relations with several of his wives. Obviously, there are options for remarrying in cases of divorce or death of spouse, but Mormons can have only one wife at a time. BYU Studies 41:4 (2002):145-149. [93] Historian Todd Compton documented that Joseph Smith married girls of age 13 or 14. I would not seal them to him. Valentina Gabusi/iStock/Getty Images. Mormons can have one wife. 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). [citation needed], *^  Membership worldwide; generally church-reported; with an occasional exception, the denominations above are included in the  Book:List of denominations in the Latter Day Saint movement     †^ Once larger, "Plural marriage" redirects here. [citation needed]. "[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. [3] In spite of the law, Mormons continued to practice polygamy, believing that it was protected by the First Amendment. [101][110] In 1843, Joseph Smith's diary records the sealing of John Milton Bernhisel to his sister, Maria, in a ceremony that included the sealing of Bernhisel to multiple relatives, some of whom were deceased. [111] However, this is understood by most scholars as the collective sealing or binding of the family and not a marriage between Bernhisel and his sister. Doctrine and Covenants, section 132; in the same edition, the statement denouncing polygamy (the old section 101) was removed. [14], William Clayton, Smith's scribe, recorded early polygamous marriages in 1843: "On the 1st day of May, 1843, I officiated in the office of an Elder by marrying Lucy Walker to the Prophet Joseph Smith, at his own residence. BYU Studies 34:1 (1994):127-133. In 1943, the First Presidency learned that apostle Richard R. Lyman was cohabitating with a woman other than his legal wife. Nerren and Long instead formed a separate sect in 1932, which was later joined by five other former Temple Lot congregations by 1941. Will continue after death and the practice was kept secret from non-members and church... Historian Stanly Hirshon documented cases of girls aged 10 and 11 being married to more than husband... At 22:45 not be sealed to multiple spouses `` I shall not seal the people as have... 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