Contemporary opinions include the contention that the manifesto was more related to an effort to achieve statehood for the Utah territory. I Soon Found Out "Sister-Wives" Is Often a Literal Term. 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. [67], Mormon fundamentalists believe that plural marriage is a requirement for exaltation and entry into the highest level of the celestial kingdom. I would not seal them to him. [35][36] He also stated that Christ had multiple wives as further evidence in defense of polygamy. By 1943, both were in their seventies. Cowley retained his membership in the church, but Taylor was later excommunicated. 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 time ago for specific reasons, as commanded by God or the Lord. Polygamy (from Late Greek πολυγαμία, polygamía, "state of marriage to many spouses") is the practice of marrying multiple spouses. 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. [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. Old Father Alread brought three young girls 12 & 13 years old. 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. [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. Church of Jesus Christ (Original Doctrine) Inc. 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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). Unable to trust anyone else to officiate, Lyman and the woman exchanged vows secretly. 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. [66] Fundamentalists either practice as individuals, as families, or as part of organized denominations. The possibility for women to be sealed to multiple men is a recent policy change enacted in 1998. LDS Church apostle Heber C. Kimball had 43 wives, and had 65 children by 17 of those wives. First, we have Rulon Jeffs (that's him on the left with two of his wives). What Is the Number of Wives That a Mormon Can Have. [12] Mosiah Hancock reported that his father was taught about plural marriage in the spring of 1832.[13]. Mormon polygamy was one of the leading moral issues of the 19th Century in the United States, perhaps second only to slavery in importance. [94], However, it seems that Brigham Young attempted to stamp out the practice of men being sealed to excessively young girls. Amongst the number I well remember Eliza Partridge, Emily Partridge, Sarah Ann Whitney, Helen Kimball and Flora Woodworth. 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. [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. Mormons can have one wife. [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]. [86] Compton dates this marriage to March or April 1833, well before Joseph was accused of an affair. Joseph Smith publicly condemned polygamy, denied his involvement in it, and participants were excommunicated, as church records and publications reflect. While many church leaders in 1890 regarded the Manifesto as inspired, there were differences among them about its scope and permanence. "[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. She may only be sealed to subsequent partners after both she and her husband(s) have died. There are many fundamentalist sects that have broken away from the Mormon church and practice polygamy...but the Mormon church has tried to make it as clear as possible that these people are not part of the official Mormon church. [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. Valentina Gabusi/iStock/Getty Images. 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. Throughout his life, Smith publicly denied having multiple wives. Among Cochran's marital innovations was "spiritual wifery," and "tradition assumes that he received frequent consignments of spiritual consorts, and that such were invariably the most robust and attractive women in the community. Receiving clearance does not void or invalidate the first sealing. 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]” . 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. 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. Journal History, 26 August 1857; cited by Hyrum Leslie Andrus, Lyman Johnson as recounted by Orson Pratt, ". 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. Originally, the Mormon faith was hardly the faith of prudes. A 12 July 1843 polygamy revelation on plural marriage, attributed to. 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. 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. The final element in Woodruff's revelatory experience came on the evening of September 23, 1890. "[89] When Kimball first heard of the principle, he believed that he would marry elderly women whom he would care for and who would not be a threat to his first wife Vilate. What Does George Soros' Open Society Foundations Network Fund? For public relations reasons, the LDS Church has sought vigorously to disassociate itself from Mormon fundamentalists and the practice of plural marriage. Lyon's mother, Sylvia Sessions Lyon, left her daughter a deathbed affidavit telling her she was Smith's daughter.[55]. In July of the same year, the U.S. Attorney General filed suit to seize all church assets. 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. ", "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. Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff's Journal, Hirshson's cited source of the first quote is an April 17, 1860. [26] Sidney Rigdon, while he was estranged from the church, wrote a letter in backlash to the Messenger and Advocate in 1844 condemning the church's Quorum of the Twelve and their alleged connection to polygamy: It is a fact so well known that the Twelve and their adherents have endeavored to carry on this spiritual wife business ... and have gone to the most shameful and desperate lengths to keep from the public. After the Civil War, immigrants to Utah who were not members of the church continued the contest for political power. In September 1871, Young was indicted for adultery due to his plural marriages. Daynes, Kathryn M. Review of Mormon Odyssey: The Story of Ida Hunt Udall, Plural Wife, by Maria S. Ellsworth. ), section 101, p. 251. 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. A Mormon is only allowed to have one wife, according to the Book of Mormon. On January 6, 1879, the Supreme Court upheld the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act in Reynolds v. United States. It was not until 1904, under the leadership of church president Joseph F. Smith, that the church completely banned new plural marriages worldwide. Despite this, many people still hold the misconception that all Mormons are involved in polygamous relationships. 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. 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. [56][57], As the LDS Church settled in what became the Utah Territory, it eventually was subjected to the power and opinion of the United States. 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. "[73] Thus, the LDS Church today teaches that plural marriage can only be practiced when specifically authorized by God. A dozen “sister wives” might be married to a single man, and they all raise their children by him together. [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." When a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry. 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. Three Wives, One Husband: Married to the Mormons begins on Channel 4, Monday 27 January at 10pm Bountiful's residents are part of a fundamentalist breakaway Mormon sect, which believes that a man must marry at least three wives in order, one day, to enter heaven. How Does the 25th Amendment Work — and When Should It Be Enacted? 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 […] Sister Wives is an American show on TLC that premiered in September of 2010 and follows the Brown’s polygamist family. Nerren and Long instead formed a separate sect in 1932, which was later joined by five other former Temple Lot congregations by 1941. [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. Without being able to appear publicly, the leadership was left to navigate "underground.". A woman, however, may not be sealed to more than one man while she is alive. On July 8, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act into law, which forbade the practice in U.S. territories. 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. [44] Emma Smith was publicly and privately opposed to the practice and Joseph may have married some women without Emma knowing beforehand. The church was losing control of the territorial government, and many members and leaders were being actively pursued as fugitives. 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]. [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. But rhetoric continued, and polygamy became an impediment to Utah being admitted as a state. [27], At the time, the practice was kept secret from non-members and most church members. Buchanan, anticipating Mormon opposition to a newly appointed territorial governor to replace Brigham Young, dispatched 2,500 federal troops to Utah to seat the new governor, thus setting in motion a series of misunderstandings in which the Mormons felt threatened. 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. [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. [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. [77] Current apostles Russell M. Nelson and Dallin H. Oaks are examples of such a case.[78]. Bennett was called to account by Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and was excommunicated from the church. One third of the women of marriageable age and nearly all of the church leadership were involved in the practice. Frequently Asked Questions . [74][75] This echoes earlier teachings by Brigham Young that the primary purpose of polygamy was to bring about the Millennium. She returned to Utah and participated in a wedding, only to find out after the ceremony that Miles was already married. A man may be sealed to more than one woman. [93] Historian Todd Compton documented that Joseph Smith married girls of age 13 or 14. [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. [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.

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