Now I would like to address the issue of Polygamy and the numerous comments made about “Mormon” beliefs.
The practice of polygamy was instituted in the early Church to address a serious shortage of men within the church, and the fact that people had a problem with supporting the widows and orphans under their trying circumstances.
There were many individuals who felt that just taking care of their own family was already too difficult and that they couldn’t afford to assist people outside their family unit. Obviously, this left the only feasible way to solve the dilemma, short of forced donations (which the Church has never been wont to do) as being done within a family unit; therefore, to do so and maintain righteousness, it would involve marriage.
There is some discrepancy on the reporting of the numbers, but everyone agrees it was never more than five percent of the males that had more than one wife, and some posit it as being as few as two percent.
No man could marry more than one wife without the consent of his first wife.
The wives owned the property. If a wife wanted out, she was welcomed to do so, and she took her property with her.
The Prophet Brigham Young, who was married to 17 women, had several of them divorce him. Not because he was a bad man, but because they didn’t become the favorite, or couldn’t get their way, or because they couldn’t get along with the rest of the family members. In a family that large, this is not hard to imagine occurring. No one replaced the First wife.
Marrying these women was a way to make sure of their support. There was no thought of getting around a no cheating rule. It was not a way to have some kind of harem.
Were some plural marriages more successful than others? Sure. As in all relationships, the parties within the marriage were responsible for their own happiness, If they were cheerful, and cooperative with each other, and lived righteously, there was more harmony; if not, than not so much.
When the United States passed a law, outlawing polygamy well after the civil war was over ( It was not illegal before that), then The Church, as is in keeping with the beliefs of being subject to the laws of the land, stopped supporting plural marriages in the states. Some of the members who had had successful marriages and had lots of children, etc. moved to Mexico so as to not be where it was illegal.
Some of the men who had plural wives at the time of the passing of the law went to jail rather than have to choose to divorce one of their wives.
Some got divorced from all but one woman, and some plural marriages came to an end through natural consequences.
It had been over forty years since the institution of this practice, and the imbalance of women to men worked itself out, for the most part.
As to the ones today who call themselves Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints…. They are Not members of Christ’s Church, but of doctrine of their own devising. Those who follow their doctrine do so for their own reasons, and not because it is a correct tradition.
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- Morning Joe Guest: Mormonism Represents ‘What Americans Like To Believe About Themselves’ (mediaite.com)