MORMON POLYGAMY DIES OFFICIALLY IN 1904, HOW IT BEGAN & ENDED
Mormon polygamy officially ended in 1904. I do not speak for the Mormon Church and these views are my understanding of why the Practice was abandoned. The private practice of Mormon
polygamyoriginated with the Prophet or founder of the Church, Joseph Smith. In the 1830’s Joseph claimed a revelation from God restoring the practice of polygamy. His wife Emma would not accept the revelation. It is probably for this reason that Joseph did not live with any of his alleged plural wives, but had these wives sealed to him as spiritual wives to be with him in Eternity. It is questionable as to whether he had any relations with these spiritual wives. One of the wives did tell her daughter she was a child of Joseph Smith, but whether she meant she was a spiritual child [sealed to Joseph and the mother] or a physical child fathered by Joseph, the report is silent. Other than this allegation, it does not appear that he had any children from these spiritual marriages.
Because the Practice was generally abhorred by the early members of the Church, the practice was private and involved only a few of the leaders in the Church. Also with the word getting out to some non Mormons, persecution began to be leveled against Smith and others. Many believe that this is one of the reasons that the Prophet was eventually murdered while in the Carthage jail. Although the Practice became more acceptable among the members as time went on, it was not until after the Saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1852 that Brigham Young acknowledged publicly the practice of plural marriage or polygamy. It is alleged that only 20 to 30% of the members practiced polygamy.
When allegedly God condoned this practice why would he later revoke this practice? There are those who say the Practice served its purpose by providing homes and support for woman whose husbands died due to hardships while crossing the frozen plains in the dread of winter. These men had to push handcarts across the frozen plains and many times gave their food and clothing to their wives and children rather than let them starve or freeze to death. Many say the Practice gave growth to the infant Church and gave it a solid foundation. Others say that the Practice was stopped so Utah could attain statehood. While these reasons may each have some validity, the Church was faced with its immanent destruction due to the persecution from the Government and enemy’s about. The Mormon leaders were given little choice if they did not abandon polygamy, fearing federal confiscation of its sacred temples and property.
The Church leaders were concerned with the increasing persecution coming from the Government. As a result in 1890 , the President of the Church Wilfred Woodruff, claimed he received a vision showing what would happen to the Church if the Practice was not ended.
As a result of the purported revelation, the Manifesto was drawn up and given to the membership of the Church. This stopped the practice of a man marrying more than one woman. There were those who would not accept the Manifesto and they continued with the Practice. In or around 1904 the Church began excommunicating members who would not accept the Manifesto and continued marrying additional wives. These excommunicated members started the splinter groups of which the FLDS Church is the largest group with headquarters in Colorado City, on the border of Utah and Arizona. Warren Jeffs, who is currently in Prison for marrying child brides, is the leader of this group. The second largest group headed by the Allreds is called the Apostolic United Brethren and its headquarters is located in Bluffdale, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City.
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. In the Book of Mormon Jacob 2, verse 27 the Lord tells the people they are to have only one wife and concubines none, and then in verse 30, the Lord tells them “For if I will raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall harken unto these things,”
In the next blog I will give more information on the splinter groups, on there organization and beliefs. If you have any questions or opposing views I would like to hear from you.
BUY OR REVIEW AWARD WINNING BOOK ON POLYGAMY HERE.
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