Mormon Polygamy Past & Present Research Paper

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How could they take out an element that was supposed to aid in a person's salvation? A lot of church leaders continued a "sub rosa" promotion of polygamy, starting what is now called the post-Manifesto era (2011). President Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, sent Mormons to church colonies in Mexico to take part in plural marriages (2011). (Some of those people included Brigham Young Jr.) a great deal of these marriages were sealed in Mexico by Anthony Ivins, who later became a member of the First Presidency. Other post-Manifesto marriages were done in Canada, on ships on the Pacific Ocean, and in Utah as well as other neighboring states (2011).

These marriages were not able to keep their secrecy, and when the news got out, there were many anti-polygamy activists who were incredibly angry. Apostle Reed Smoot, a monogamist and member of the Church of Latter-day Saints, was elected as a U.S. Senator in 1904, but the Senate refused him until he examined the Latter-day Saints' allegiance to its public Manifesto (Compton 2011).. The hearings caused a great deal of humiliation for the Latter-day Saints church. Joseph F. Smith came out with a "Second Manifesto" in 1904, which stated once again that the church had done away with polygamy (2011). John Taylor and Matthias Cowley, two apostles who were important in post-Manifesto marriages, were released from the Quorum of Twelve and excommunicated from the church in one case and disfellowshipped from the church in the other (2011). Since then, Latter-day Saints members who partake in plural marriages have been excommunicated when they are discovered. Mormons have thus had to choose monogamy in order to have a place in modern day American culture (2011).

There are still Mormon fundamentalists who insist on practicing "the principle" -- though there is the risk of being excommunicated from the church (Compton 2011). These people traced their authority lineage through what they call a "secret transfer of authority" effected by John Taylor in 1886 (2011). Many of today's polygamists view Mormon church presidents after Taylor as betrayers to the restored religion that Joseph Smith founded (2011).

It is estimated that there are anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 polygamist "fundamentalists" living in Utah as well as other neighboring states (Compton 2011). The major groups are the United Apostolic Brethren, located just outside of Salt Lake City, and citizens of the twin border towns of Colorado City and Hildale (known earlier as Short Creek), which is straddling the Utah-Arizona border and known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2011). The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is by far the more conservative and separatist of all the major fundamentalist groups (2011). In fact, the Latter-day Saint church worked with political leaders to organize a police raid on Short Creek polygamists in 1953 (2011). In this raid, mothers were separated from some 263 children and fathers were sent to jail (2011).

A number of Mormon fundamentalists still practice polygamy for religious reasons. Still, there has been quite a lot of controversy over this, especially over accusations made by teenage girls that they were forced into plural marriages where the older men were abusive (Compton 2011). One famous case occurred in 1998 when a 15-year-old girl claimed that her father, who was physically abusive, forced her to marry her uncle, becoming his fifteenth wife. When she tried to leave the marriage, she was abused physically by both her father and uncle (2011).

Many Mormons have allowed polygamy to become a part of their religion's past. However, because of its importance in the church, there is still a lot of mention of polygamy in texts written by Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith -- and of course, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism (Compton 2011). These texts state that polygamy is required for absolute salvation and so even though Mormons may not practice it personally, many believe that they will be polygamists in their next lives (2011). In the book Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, he states that he is excited for the time when the "holy practice" of plural marriages would be practiced again (2011). If a man's…[continue]

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