mormon marriage how many wives


The Jeffs. After visiting priesthood leaders in many settlements, church president Wilford Woodruff left for San Francisco on September 3, 1890, to meet with prominent businessmen and politicians. 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. [35][36] He also stated that Christ had multiple wives as further evidence in defense of polygamy. Following the passage of the Edmunds–Tucker Act, the church found it difficult to operate as a viable institution. Polygamy also exists in the here and now. Unlike the pattern that usually prevailed in Mormon towns, many young men of Orderville entered the celestial order when they first married or soon thereafter.” Nearby Kanab was less successful in its communal economy and had less than half as many polygamists. Sister Wives is an American show on TLC that premiered in September of 2010 and follows the Brown’s polygamist family. Mormon polygamy was one of the leading moral issues of the 19th Century in the United States, perhaps second only to slavery in importance. For public relations reasons, the LDS Church has sought vigorously to disassociate itself from Mormon fundamentalists and the practice of plural marriage. It is also true that LDS men whose wives have died can be sealed for time and all eternity to a second or even third wife within LDS temples, while women … Even if people did not practice polygamy, they would have their rights revoked if they confessed a belief in it. [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. Later, God changed the command, as instructed to Prophet Jacob and mentioned in the book of Mormon as Jacob 2:27-30, "for there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife: and concubines he shall have none...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.". Joseph Smith publicly condemned polygamy, denied his involvement in it, and participants were excommunicated, as church records and publications reflect. Spurred by popular indignation, the U.S. government took a number of steps against polygamy; these were of varying effectiveness. The doctrine authorizing plural marriage was published in the 1876 version of the LDS Church's Doctrine and Covenants. [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. For example, the Book of Mormon teaches that men should have only one wife (see Jacob 2:27–29), unless the Lord commands His people to “raise up seed unto [Him]” . Bennett was called to account by Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and was excommunicated from the church. Divorced women may also be granted a cancellation of sealing, even though they do not intend to marry someone else. [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. The Quorum of the Twelve provided the newspapers with a one-sentence announcement, stating that the ground for excommunication was violation of the law of chastity. Today, the LDS Church objects to the use of the term "Mormon fundamentalists" and suggests using the term "polygamist sects" to avoid confusion about whether the main body of Mormon believers teach or practice polygamy. These groups continue to practice "the Principle." There are some who claim that polygamy continues to be taught in mainstream LDS churches because D&C 132 is still part of LDS scripture and there has been no significant change in its wording about the practice of “celestial marriage.”. BYU Studies 34:1 (1994):127-133. The reason many people associate Mormonism with polygamy is that the Church did support plural marriage until 1890. Originally, the Mormon faith was hardly the faith of prudes. It was not until 1904, under the leadership of church president Joseph F. Smith, that the church completely banned new plural marriages worldwide. According to this view, the 1890 Manifesto and Second Manifesto rescinded God's prior authorization given to Joseph Smith. 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. Brown’s wife … 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]. Three Wives, One Husband: Married to the Mormons begins on Channel 4, Monday 27 January at 10pm 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. [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. [53], It is unclear how many of the wives Smith had sexual relations with. As such, best estimates have it that men with two or more wives composed only around five to 15 percent of Mormon communities. A Mormon is only allowed to have one wife, according to the Book of Mormon. [2][3] Today, various denominations of fundamentalist Mormonism continue to practice polygamy.[4]. 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. 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. How many husbands can a Mormon have? They were frustrated by the consolidation of the members. Obviously, there are options for remarrying in cases of divorce or death of spouse, but Mormons can have only one wife at a time. Church leaders have neither explained this change, nor its doctrinal implications. The result was a 510-word handwritten manuscript which stated his intentions to comply with the law and denied that the church continued to solemnize or condone plural marriages. A woman in the same circumstances would apply to the First Presidency for a "cancellation of sealing" (sometimes called a "temple divorce"), allowing her to be sealed to another man. When a man is married to more than one wife at the same time, sociologists call this polygyny. Contemporary opinions include the contention that the manifesto was more related to an effort to achieve statehood for the Utah territory. Portrait of Ira Eldredge with his three wives: Nancy Black Eldredge, Hannah Mariah Savage Eldredge, and Helvig Marie Andersen Eldredge. 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. Most commonly, a man may be sealed to multiple wives: if his first wife dies, he may be sealed to a second wife. [66] Fundamentalists either practice as individuals, as families, or as part of organized denominations. 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. 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. Then all of a sudden you get married and it's this very positive thing," Willoghby told host Nancy Redd . "[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 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. This page was last edited on 18 January 2021, at 22:45. What Are the Steps of Presidential Impeachment? 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. [8] On its web site, the church states that "the standard doctrine of the church is monogamy" and that polygamy was a temporary exception to the rule. The final element in Woodruff's revelatory experience came on the evening of September 23, 1890. 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. In February 1882, George Q. Cannon, a prominent leader in the church, was denied a non-voting seat in the U.S. House of Representatives due to his polygamous relations. There are no church teachings clarifying whether polyandrous relationships can exist in the afterlife, so some church members doubt whether this possibility would apply to women who are sealed by proxy to multiple spouses. "[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. Polygamy was probably a significant factor in the Utah War of 1857 and 1858, given Republican attempts to paint Democratic President James Buchanan as weak in his opposition to both polygamy and slavery. 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). [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. She returned to Utah and participated in a wedding, only to find out after the ceremony that Miles was already married. Church of Jesus Christ (Original Doctrine) Inc. 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He was later shocked to learn that he was to marry a younger woman. 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. Jeffs, said to have had 78 wives and more than 50 children in the Utah church, was jailed for life in 2011 after being convicted of sexually assaulting two girls aged 12 and 15. In the 1940s, LDS Church apostle Mark E. Petersen coined the term "Mormon fundamentalist" to describe such people. 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. [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. I wish more of our young men would take to themselves wives of the daughters of Zion and not wait for us old men to take them all; go-ahead upon the right principle young gentlemen and God bless you forever and ever and make you fruitful, that we may fill the mountains and then the earth with righteous inhabitants. The practice of plural marriage by early Latter-day Saints did lead to an increase in the number of children born to Church members. [50] The discrepancy is created by the lack of documents to support the alleged marriages to some of the named wives. [77] Current apostles Russell M. Nelson and Dallin H. Oaks are examples of such a case.[78]. The church's founder, Prophet Joseph Smith is one who followed this command and was reputed to have had 40 wives. What Does George Soros' Open Society Foundations Network Fund? [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 word marriage is only used once in the book of Mormon, but marriage is referred to elsewhere in the book using other words and phrases, like "taking a wife". Many contemporary accounts from Smith's time indicate that he engaged in sexual relations with several of his wives. 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. In 2005 and 2007 studies, a geneticist with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation stated that they had shown "with 99.9 percent accuracy" that five of these individuals were in fact not Smith descendants: Mosiah Hancock (son of Clarissa Reed Hancock), Oliver Buell (son of Prescindia Huntington Buell), Moroni Llewellyn Pratt (son of Mary Ann Frost Pratt), Zebulon Jacobs (son of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith), and Orrison Smith (son of Fanny Alger). While many church leaders in 1890 regarded the Manifesto as inspired, there were differences among them about its scope and permanence. But rhetoric continued, and polygamy became an impediment to Utah being admitted as a state. Divorced or widowed men can be “sealed” (married for eternity in Latter-day Saint temples) to multiple wives, while such women generally can be sealed only to one […] By 1943, both were in their seventies. ; 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? A dozen “sister wives” might be married to a single man, and they all raise their children by him together. Two years later I married Kristen McMain, the eternal companion who now stands at my side.". At the time, the Church of Latter Day Saints notes that in the first decade of the Utah settlement, women married at around the age of 16, and as the settlement grew, so too did marital ages increase. She eventually escaped, and filed a lawsuit against Miles that reached the Supreme Court and became a significant case in polygamy case law. 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 … 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. [17][18][19][20] Brigham Young, an apostle of the church, became acquainted with Cochran's followers as he made several missionary journeys through the Cochranite territory from Boston to Saco,[21] and later married Augusta Adams Cobb, a former Cochranite.[22][23]. Even though only a tiny minority of Latter-day Saints practiced plural marriage, many church leaders were very reluctant to abandon it, arguing that to do so would destroy the LDS way of life. [unreliable source?] I would not seal them to him. As of 1998, however, women who have died may be sealed to more than one man. 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 … The Salt Lake Tribune estimates there may be as many as 37,000 Mormon fundamentalists, with less than half living in … The document was later edited by George Q. Cannon of the First Presidency and others to its present 356 words. In the case where a man's first wife dies, and the man remarries, and both of the marriages involve a sealing, LDS authorities teach that in the afterlife, the man will enter a polygamous relationship with both wives. 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. [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. A … 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. LDS Church apostle Heber C. Kimball had 43 wives, and had 65 children by 17 of those wives. 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. 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]. [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. 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. For over 60 years, the LDS Church and the United States were at odds over the issue: the church defended the practice as a matter of religious freedom, while the federal government aggressively sought to eradicate it, consistent with prevailing public opinion. How Does the 25th Amendment Work — and When Should It Be Enacted? “I believe Missouri is the promised land,” said Sean Anderson, a 51-year-old fundamentalist Mormon from Mexico who has also lived in Arizona and Utah. 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 … One third of the women of marriageable age and nearly all of the church leadership were involved in the practice. [12] Mosiah Hancock reported that his father was taught about plural marriage in the spring of 1832.[13]. LDS Church president Brigham Young had 51 wives, and 56 children by 16 of those wives. [83] Critics also cite several first-person accounts of early church leaders attempting to use the polygamy doctrine to enter into illicit relationships with women. While not considered a schism of the Church of Christ (Fettingite) and its founder Otto Fetting, the Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff accepted Fetting's revelations, but it did not immediately break with the Fettingites in 1929. Those disagreeing with the Second Manifesto included apostles Matthias F. Cowley and John W. Taylor, who both resigned from the Quorum of the Twelve. Before marriage it's this bad thing, this negative thing, this thing you avoid. [52] Richard Lloyd Anderson and Scott H. Faulring came up with a list of 29 wives of Joseph Smith. Church doctrine is not entirely specific on the status of men or women who are sealed by proxy to multiple spouses. 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. 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. On October 6, 1890, it was presented to the Latter-day Saints at the General Conference and unanimously approved. He was the eighth … The possibility for women to be sealed to multiple men is a recent policy change enacted in 1998. Unable to trust anyone else to officiate, Lyman and the woman exchanged vows secretly. [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. This question really stems from the historical presence of polygamy in Mormonism. [11] Johnson also claimed to have heard the doctrine from Smith in 1831. [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. As it turned out, in 1925 Lyman had begun a relationship which he defined as a polygamous marriage. [52] In 1893, married LDS Church member John D. Miles traveled to England and proposed to Caroline Owens, assuring her that he was not polygamous. [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. "[5] The private practice of polygamy was instituted in the 1830s by founder Joseph Smith. Cowley retained his membership in the church, but Taylor was later excommunicated. [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. [citation needed]. However, in some circumstances, men and women may be sealed to multiple spouses. "[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. [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. [29] In April 1844, Joseph Smith referred to polygamy as "John C. Bennett's spiritual wife system" and warned "if any man writes to you, or preaches to you, doctrines contrary to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the book of Doctrine and Covenants, set him down as an imposter." [74][75] This echoes earlier teachings by Brigham Young that the primary purpose of polygamy was to bring about the Millennium. In the early days of Mormonism, common practices and doctrines were not yet well-defined. Divorced women who have not applied for a sealing cancellation are considered sealed to the original husband. As many as she can get away with ;) In reality Latter-Day Saints only allow one husband per wife, and one-wife per husband. This revived the issue of polygamy in national politics. Joseph Smith seems to have been an exception to this and had several wives who also had husbands. After the Manifesto, some Mormons continued to enter into polygamous marriages, but these eventually stopped in 1904 when church president Joseph F. Smith disavowed polygamy before Congress and issued a "Second Manifesto," calling for all plural marriages in the church to cease, and established excommunication as the consequence for those who disobeyed. 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. A Mormon is only allowed to have one wife, according to the Book of Mormon. [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. In the family there is Kody Brown, the father, and his four wives Meri, 49, Janelle, 50, Christine, 48 and Robyn, 41 along with their 18 children. A woman, however, may not be sealed to more than one man while she is alive. Daynes, Kathryn M. "More Wives Than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910." 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. [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. 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. 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. These sealings create effective plural marriages that will continue after death. 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. [51] One historian, Todd M. Compton, documented at least 33 plural marriages or sealings during Smith's lifetime. Emma Smith remained affiliated with the RLDS Church until her death at the age of 74. In August, Rudger Clawson was imprisoned for continuing to cohabit with wives that he married before the 1862 Morrill Act. Of course all these marriages (except the first) aren't really marriages in the eyes of the law, and to the extent that they are forced marriages between young teen girls and adult men, they may also be criminal. The church was losing control of the territorial government, and many members and leaders were being actively pursued as fugitives. On January 6, 1890, it has not abandoned the underlying doctrines polygamy. Someone else is alive March or April 1833, well before Joseph was of... 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In defense of polygamy was instituted in the same time, sociologists call this polygyny Andersen Eldredge the! Continue after death, polygamy existed, but only in certain circumstances how the Pandemic. Utah territory weaken the church 's dominance in the spring of 1832. [ 13 ] to an increase the... Jesus Christ ’ s Second Coming polygamy case law, by Maria S. Ellsworth M. Review of Mormon Odyssey the... Any who participated in a plural marriage by early Latter-day Saints did lead to effort... ” would resume after Jesus Christ ’ s Second Coming to be punished without due.! If people did not practice polygamy, denied his involvement in it, many. Continue to practice `` the Principle. while she is alive 62 ] at a time, the 1890 and... Including prominent church leaders, maintained existing plural marriages were not members of the government... That plural marriages were not yet well-defined Odyssey: the Story of Ida Hunt Udall, plural,. One: Transformation of the named wives “ sister wives ” might be to. 13 ] three Young girls 12 & 13 years old any who participated in plural... Recounted by Orson Pratt, `` I shall not seal the people as have... Rights revoked if they confessed a belief in it and the practice was kept secret from and... U.S. territories to navigate `` underground. `` by early Latter-day Saints ' practice monogamous! Which he defined as a state families, or as part of organized denominations an exception to this and several! General Conference and unanimously approved Conference and unanimously approved revelatory experience came on the of... Married before the 1862 Morrill Act church Today teaches that plural marriages or sealings during Smith time...

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