Back in the early days of the LDS church, yes, polygamy was practiced. It started because many men were killed in massacres and fighting and the women and children left behind needed care. Then it continued on, and was declared official in Utah in 1852 by Brigham Young. Years later, when Utah was trying to become a state, the US government said, basically, “You can become a state, but the polygamy has to go.” In 1890, under Wilford Woodruff, Utah agreed to ban polygamy. When Joseph Smith was alive, he wrote the Articles of Faith….13 short statements of what we believe. One of those articles is to obey the laws and follow the rules of the government. And the church was willing to follow the laws of the government. Utah became a state 6 years later. (There was a lot of controversy and tension between the Utah territory and the government between 1852 and 1890, so I’m just giving a quick overview.)
Many in Utah felt that the government had no right to tell them how to practice their religion; they felt that if a commandment came from God, it couldn’t be revoked by man. So they splintered off the mainstream group and continued polygamy. (One thing I don’t understand is if the group still believed in Joseph Smith and the Articles of Faith he wrote, how they could not follow the one about following the laws of the government.) They were (are) called the Fundamentalists, which group still continues today. This group is not associated with the mainstream LDS church in any way. If someone in the church is found practicing polygamy, they are quickly excommunicated.
Sometimes we (me, Paul, my family, many “Mormons”) often joke about polygamy. I’m writing this because there are so many lies and distortions about the church floating around. It amazes me that people still think this is something we do. Which is why I’m putting it out there, as many others have. If Paul ever came to me and said he had a revelation that he should have more than one wife, I would tell him that it was fine with me. But not to include me in that number! Besides, I think if he had 2 of me, he would change his mind pretty quickly. 🙂
When people ask me how many wives I have, I respond: I went on a date about two years ago does that count. We then laugh together and then I say no we do not practice polygamy.
Humor can be a great way to make a touchy subject a friendly open discussion