Utah Gov. signs law aimed at polygamy
When you purchase an independently reviewed book through our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Alfred A. It was one of the most celebrated historical works of the 1990s, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and required reading for any self-respecting history graduate student. Smith, nephew of the founding prophet, and his family. Of all the Mormon doctrines, none caused as much controversy as polygamy, called plural or celestial marriage within the church. First Revelations Smith may have received a revelation on polygamy as early as 1831, when he was studying Old Testament prophets and wondering about their practice of having multiple wives. Smith would later assert that the Lord told him such acts were not adultery when done at divine command; multiple women could be eternally "sealed" to the same man. At the time, however, he kept the doctrine secret, although he may have married Fanny Alger, a teenager working in his home, in the mid-1830s.
Today, only a few fringe sects still practice polygamy, and the church regularly excommunicates those they find conducting it. So just how did polygamy start, and why? By the time of his death in 1844, Joseph Smith is believed to have married at least 33 women, with some as young as 14 years old. In getting there, Smith had to have done something pretty big, which for all intents and purposes was publishing the Book of Mormon, a religious text Smith translated from gilded plates and which describes the history of Hebrews who came to North America thousands of years ago. What it does point to, though, is the idea that if you can get people to believe in that founding myth, you might feel like you can make even bolder claims to your followers — like the idea that having multiple wives gets you closer to God.
By Jana Riess, Christopher Kimball Bigelow Outsiders sometimes ask Mormons — often in jest, occasionally in concern — whether they practice polygamy. Who practiced polygamy, and why? When Joseph Smith first explained the doctrine of plural marriage to Brigham Young in the early 1840s, Brigham felt repulsed by it. Finding out who was involved Although in recent years the Church has downplayed the importance of plural marriage to nineteenth century Saints in order to keep the current stance clear, history shows that polygamy was an extremely important aspect of Mormonism in the nineteenth century.
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