Mormon polygamy

Mormon polygamy

Mormon Polygamy: A History

Perhaps the best single work on the subject to date. Richard Van Wagoner treats the touchy subject in a fair manner, covering all periods from the 1830s to the late 20th century.

Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage

B. Carmon Hardy goes into more depth for the Utah period of Mormon polygamy (mostly 1880 to 1910). For those interested in post-manifesto, sanctioned polygamy, this is the best source.

LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890 – 1904 by D. Michael Quinn

A lengthy piece, originally published in Dialogue, which goes into great detail on the facts and circumstances surrounding the manifesto. The pre- and post-manifesto deception is dealt with as well as the key individuals involved including Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith.

In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith

The ultimate book in finding out about polygamy in Joseph Smith’s era. The book is made up of numerous biographies of Joseph’s 30+ wives.

Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith

This stimulating biography on Joseph Smith’s first wife also covers Joseph Smith era polygamy. Emma was vehemently opposed to the practice, but that didn’t stop Joseph.

Joseph Smith III: Pragmatic Prophet

Believe it or not, this book deals a great deal with polygamy. Much of the current evidence for the early practice of polygamy in Mormonism was ironically caused by Joseph Smith’s son who, like his mother Emma, abhored the practice. While the wives had largely kept their silence regarding the practice previous to RLDS proselyting efforts in Utah, RLDS stories that Brigham Young created Mormon polygamy caused Utah LDS to become more public in their histories about pre-Brigham Young era Mormon polygamy. An interesting book outside of the polygamy aspects too.

Todd Compton responds to the Tanner’s review of his book on Joseph Smith’s wives

“I dislike Mormon history that systematically censors out anything problematic, tragic, or reflecting human fallibility (i.e., real humanity) in church members or culture. This kind of history is, to me, dishonest, and the opposite of ‘faith-promoting.’ (Authentic faith is never dependent on dishonesty or covering up the balanced truth.) Furthermore, this kind of history is often insipid and sentimental.”

Sterling McMurrin speaks candidly about Mormon polygamy.

“If it hadn’t have been for polygamy, I suspect ,… well, I for one wouldn’t have been here… [I can say the same] … I know that it is impossible for historians to tell what causes what, always … but the whole polygamist hassle helped to make Mormonism what it is. We can thank the Lord that it is gone, though it will never completely disappear. And there are plenty of people in this room who are kind of looking forward to polygamy in the hereafter. (laughter) It is hard to tell just exactly what the church teaches on that. But the church would never have been what it is today with[out] polygamy. We wouldn’t have had our great martyrs and so on. And polygamy probably lead to Joseph Smith’s assassination. And if I may hazard an historical observation. And I wouldn’t want to be completely misunderstood. I think it was a fortunate thing for the church historically that Joseph Smith died when he did. Because the church was beginning to fall apart. It seems like it was beginning to go to pieces and something needed to be done to pull things together. And Brigham Young is the one who pulled things together.”

Mormon America: The Power and the Promise

A review of book that appears to discuss polygamy to some extent.

The New Mormon History: Revisionist Essays on the Past

A book of essays–a couple of which discuss mostly polygamy.

The Autobiography of B.H. Roberts

The autobiography of a polygamist who lived most of his life with his wives after the manifesto.

Things in Heaven and Earth: The Life and Times of Wilford Woodruff, a Mormon Prophet

Find out about the man responsible for the manifesto.

The Mormon Presence in Canada

Although polygamy was illegal in Canada and Mexico, too, colonies of polygamists were set up in these countries to possibly continue the practice after it no longer became feasible in the United States. The book deals with many other issues besides polygamy.

No Man Knows My History

Fawn Brodie’s biography of Joseph Smith includes some accurate information surrounding his polygamous affairs as well as some speculations that have yet to be completely verified.

Mormons being excommunicated

These days you can be kicked out of the Mormon church for practicing or writing about plural marriage.

The Holy Order in Nauvoo

Plural wives were among the first to be admitted into the new temple rituals. Perhaps one of the main reasons for the new temple ordinance’s creation was to conceal the covert practice of polygamy and keep those who entered the practice silent.

President Gordon B. Hinckley on Larry King Live

The prophet recently made several erroneous statements with regard to polygamy’s history in the church even though he is well versed in the real history.

AP article on Joseph Smith’s wives

In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith vividly documents the faith, hardship and heroism that were the focus this year of the Mormon Church’s successfully orchestrated sesquicentennial celebration. But in this first comprehensive examination of the lives of the women Smith married and widowed, author Todd Compton also tracks the isolation and heartbreak that were a significant part of the Mormon female experience with polygamy.”

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