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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Former polygamy of Latter-day Saints

Joseph Smith    (Public Domain)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been opening up more and more about some of its lesser-understood historical practices.

There have been many questions about why and how polygamy once came to be an accepted part of Mormon life.  Doug Stanglin of USA TODAY offers a cursory explanation
in his article “Mormon church opens up delicate topic of early polygamy.”

Stanglin states that “founder Joseph Smith practiced ‘plural marriage’ and had as many as 40 wives, including one as young as 14.”  However, Stranglin qualifies this by adding
that there were “two types of marriages, or ‘sealings,’ with one for ‘time and eternity’ [which included sexual relations]… and the other for ‘eternity-only’ [which was not sexually consummated].”  

Smith’s 14-year-old wife, Helen Mar Kimball, later in life stated that “her marriage to Smith was ‘for eternity alone…’”

Smith's first wife, Emma, found it “excruciating” at times to adjust to polygamy.  Smith himself had at first hesitated to take other wives, but claimed that an angel had ordered him three times to do so.  Smith later saw polygamy as “restoring the ‘ancient principles’ of biblical prophets like Abraham…”

Although polygamy is no longer allowed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, “a substantial number of today’s members descend through faithful Latter-day Saints who practiced plural marriage…”


Copyright November 13, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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