This essay looks at examples of members’ expression of discomfort over a polygamous heritage and concludes with suggestions of possible pathways to a more comfortable reconciliation.
Divorce can be an ugly, painful experience that leaves all involved angry, confused, and embarrassed.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’s uncomfortable relationship with its polygamous past is much like the painful interim between when the parties have gone their separate ways but are not yet allowed to completely sever their ties.
Plural marriage was introduced to Church members by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the 1840s as a commandment from God and continued as doctrine and an official practice until 1890.after the Manifesto, and many members have come to see this change as the final end of plural marriage.
The historical record, however, clearly demonstrates that Church leaders intended at least a few plural marriages to continue without the Church’s public sanction and encouragement.