do Latter-day Saint (Mormon) churches believe and teach about polygamy
Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints (RLDS), based in Independence, Missouri, is opposed to
the practice of polygamy both in doctrine and practice. Early members
of the church, including Joseph Smith’s wife, Emma, and his son, Joseph
III, were opposed to polygamy and did not acknowledge Joseph's involvement
in the practice. Today, the church respects evidence indicating Joseph
Smith as the founder of Mormon polygamy.
Community of Christ statement
on polygamy (click and scroll down)
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), based in Salt Lake City,
Utah, claims that Joseph Smith received a revelation from God requiring
him to "restore" polygamy and that he was "challenged" by this command.
He is recognized by the church for submitting to this revelation.
The church phased out the practice starting around 1890, due to intense pressure
from the federal government. Those who marry mulitple wives today
are excommunicated from the church. The doctrine of plural marriage
is still published in current versions of church scripture and the church
does accept polygamy as an appropriate principle.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints statement on polygamy
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) exists
in a variety of splinter groups which formed when the larger Salt Lake City
based church discontinued the practice of polygamy around the end of the
nineteenth century. Fundamentalists believe it is their duty to continue
the plural marriage practice started by Joseph Smith. Although polygamy
is illegal, they believe it is more important to follow the "law of God".
To avoid conflict with legal authorities, the practice is kept secret, or
at least not flaunted. Since polygamy was also illegal and secret when
practiced by Joseph Smith, they believe they are following the prophet in
their current practice. Often, young teenagers are "given" in marriage,
to much older men. Fundamentalists believe they are following the pattern
established by Joseph Smith when he married the fourteen-year-old, Helen Mar Kimball. Modern groups
such as Tapestry Against Polygamy
and Help the Child Brides
are commited to helping women out of unwanted and illegal polygamist relationships.
There are an estimated 30,000 fundamentalist Mormon polygamists in the
western United States, mostly in Utah and Arizona
Information on the FLDS and Help
the Child Brides
Information on Tapestry Against