Mormon Polygamy: Misconceptions

Polygamy, also known as plural marriage or plurality of wives, is not practiced by any, active contemporary member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In 1890, the Church (commonly known as the Mormon Church) officially disavowed polygamy as a practice and currently excommunicates any Latter-day Saint who embraces it.  Polygamists have no rightful association with the Mormon Church and many, if not most, have never been members of the Mormon Church.  Some groups who have split off from the Church practice polygamy, but their practice has nothing to do with the activity of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President Gordon B Hinckley MormonPresident Gordon B. Hinckley, late Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stated the following about polygamy in the Church’s General Conference of October 1998:

“I wish to state categorically that this Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this Church. Most of them have never been members. They are in violation of the civil law. They know they are in violation of the law. They are subject to its penalties. The Church, of course, has no jurisdiction whatever in this matter.

“If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose. Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church. An article of our faith is binding upon us. It states, ‘We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law’ (Articles of Faith 1:12). One cannot obey the law and disobey the law at the same time.

“There is no such thing as a ‘Mormon Fundamentalist.’ It is a contradiction to use the two words together.”

Mormonism today does not practice polygamy, but neither does it claim that its past practice of polygamy was wrong.  The practice was commanded by God through living prophets and forbidden by God through living prophets.  The following articles will discuss various aspects of polygamy as practiced and taught by the Mormon Church.

Original Articles (shorter articles for a basic understanding)
The Origins of Polygamy among the Mormons
The Practice of Polygamy among the Mormons
Reactions to Polygamy
Women and Polygamy
The Discontinuation of Polygamy
The Purposes of Plural Marriage
Personal Witnesses of Mormon Polygamy

Key texts regarding Mormon Polygamy

The Doctrine of Eternal Marriage
The Revelation on Celestial Marriage
Letter of Joseph Smith to Nancy Rigdon
The Public Announcement of Polygamy by Apostle Orson Pratt
Speeches by Various Mormon Leaders about Polygamy
The 1890 Manifesto
The 1904 Manifesto
Scriptural passages pertaining to polygamy

FAQ answered using scholarly articles about Mormon Polygamy

The official Mormon Church site on polygamy




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