The Return of Polygamy

When I come across sites like and its sister sites (,,,,, I can’t help but think that polygamy is soon going to be legal in this country again. My reasoning is simple: if the Supreme Court upholds the legality of “gay marriage,” then surely when it hears one of the more solidly law-based polygamy cases that will undoubtedly make its way up to it, the court will rule that anti-polygamy laws are unconstitutional, making it legal again. To me this is a no-brainer and is inevitable.

What I wonder, though, is what the reaction of the church will be. Although the prophet holds the keys to the sealing power and can still insist that no plural marriages are sealed or performed by any of the LDS clergy, within or without the temple, despite the practice being legal, what is to stop a member of the church from contracting a plural marriage outside of the church? Will church members still be excommunicated for exercising their right to take more than one wife, legally? In such a legal environment, I don’t see how the leaders could justify excommunication, as the practice of polygamy would not be breaking the law of man nor the law of chastity (the law of God). The law of chastity concerns sexual relations between a man and a woman who is legally and lawfully married. Legalized polygamy obeys the law of chastity.

Somehow I don’t think the present policy of prohibiting plural marriage will remain in place once the practice has become perfectly legal. I suspect that once its legality is established, there will be plenty of men who take more than one wife, bringing the church once again under the persecuting scrutiny of the monogamous masses.

Who knows? Maybe there will be mass inactivations and requests of name-removals by many offended women and also men who do not like the change in policy (pro-polygamy) and/or who do not appreciate the persecution that possibly will be heaped upon those members who remain and engage in the practice.

At any rate, I think that the present thinking of many church members that polygamy, if it happens again, is so distant in the future, say in the Millennium or even the after-life, that they need not think about it much, is naive. It would not surprise me in the least if we are faced with the return of legalized polygamy within the next few years.

Next Chastity article: Why the long process?

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist



  1. So you hope the Sodomites will win their gay marriage case and use that as an excuse to have the Supreme Court sanctify polygamy next?
    Has your Mormon religion hit rock bottom?

  2. bgaef, no, I don’t hold that hope. Personally, I think government should keep its nose out of marriage altogether. Love lives should not be regulated by governments. That said, though, I believe that this Supreme Court may rule in favor of “gay marriage,” and if that happens, polygamy will undoubtedly be the next legal thing. I hope I have made my position a little clearer.

    What do you think? Do you think that if “gay marriage” is approved by the SC, that polygamy is going to continue to be illegal?

    And no, I do not believe that the mormon religion has hit rock bottom.

  3. “What I wonder, though, is what the reaction of the church will be. Although the prophet holds the keys to the sealing power and can still insist that no plural marriages are sealed or performed by any of the LDS clergy, within or without the temple, despite the practice being legal, what is to stop a member of the church from contracting a plural marriage outside of the church? Will church members still be excommunicated for exercising their right to take more than one wife, legally? In such a legal environment, I don’t see how the leaders could justify excommunication, as the practice of polygamy would not be breaking the law of man nor the law of chastity (the law of God). The law of chastity concerns sexual relations between a man and a woman who is legally and lawfully married. Legalized polygamy obeys the law of chastity.”

    It doesn’t matter what becomes legal or illegal. If the Prophets councel against it, then it is illegal in God’s eyes. And even if they didn’t excommunicate right off, if a man insist he is more right than the Prophets and fight his fight, then he is insisting that he is more right than God himself, for God has called the Prophets to lead and guide His affairs on earth, and he will in turn, most likely, kick himself right out of the Kingdom of God.
    It seems to be a fundamental question of faith and obedience. Until God sanctions polygamy (again), it will always be wrong.

  4. “What I wonder, though, is what the reaction of the church will be. Although the prophet holds the keys to the sealing power and can still insist that no plural marriages are sealed or performed by any of the LDS clergy, within or without the temple, despite the practice being legal, what is to stop a member of the church from contracting a plural marriage outside of the church? Will church members still be excommunicated for exercising their right to take more than one wife, legally? In such a legal environment, I don’t see how the leaders could justify excommunication, as the practice of polygamy would not be breaking the law of man nor the law of chastity (the law of God). The law of chastity concerns sexual relations between a man and a woman who is legally and lawfully married. Legalized polygamy obeys the law of chastity.”

    God is too smart and slick for technicalities. You are human so I forgive you for being silly. I too can get silly at times. I think the fundamental themes here are faith and obedience. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks, or governments pass when it comes to God’s word. There is such a thing as gray area, and fine lines, but this is not one of them.
    As long as God’s Prophet teaches that polygamy is not sanctioned by God, then there is no argument.
    Homosexuality is not illegal. Alchohol is not illegal. But the Church teaches that these are things to be avoided, and if persisted in and fought for within the walls of the Church, well then, there are obvious repercussions.
    If a man want to fight for legalized polygamy and that fight is against the Lord, well then, we already have some of those now don’t we. Like the barmaid says, “You can take it outside” (outside of the Church).

  5. sorry for the double response that is essentially the same.

  6. Don’t worry about the double post. I’ll leave both up as you did word things a little differently.

    Prophets are bound to the scriptures, as we all are. (I may have to write a post about this topic, so, thanks for bringing it up. Note to what4anarchy: if you want to address this subject, be my guest.) Here is a link that explains this principle fairly succintly:

    What is “Official” LDS Doctrine?

  7. I will definitely read the article. But before I do, I can’t go along with agree the thought of Prophets being “bound” by scripture, becuase bound implies, not only, loyalty, duty, and doctrine, but it also implies: tied and limited explicitly to. Although Prophets expound scripture and live by Scripture, just as they must live by Scripture, and Doctrine, I do not believe they are bound by cannon. They are our direct link, as a people, to God’s direction.
    What they are bound to, if anyting, is God’s revealed word to them. They must abide by Scripture, just as they abide by doctrine-and polygamy can be called doctrine, but they are always ready for God’s revealed word. And that revealed word does “change” from time to time, ex: Gospel not for the Gentiles, and then for the Gentiles; Polygamy introduced (what a hard thing) and then taken away (also a hard thing for those who finally accepted it and were living it).
    So I can’t reconcile the prophets being bound to scripture only, because that implies a rigid past, and some could argue, it almost discounts the freedom and “freshness” of modern day revelation.

  8. Declaring the “Word of God” by Michael R. Ash

    LDS Newsroom – Approaching Mormon Doctrine

    Just a couple more links that explain what official Mormon doctrine is. I still may end up posting an article on this subject, if what4anarchy doesn’t do it first, but, in the meantime, these links give good info.

  9. manimalfiction – ‘the Chruch’ in ancient times and now does move in a direction that ‘the people of God’ choose; for the bad of the people if they are determined enough and stand thier ground on it, if they so choose – Old Testament example of the people wanting a King to rule over them – the Lord ultimately ‘let them have that which THEY wanted’ and they suffered all of the bad that came with it. No ‘technicallities’ here with this concept – I think that the history of how the Church ‘challenged the Law of the Land’ on pologomy says lots; with the final verdict being it was no longer practiced – for now. Keeping in mind that the Lord was wishing ‘His people’ to have and do this – but becasue of the persecution (basically from most of the people of this country) it would have brought – it was more or less put on hold for now.

    I am reminded of a concept that I got from a professed ‘Christian’ on the fact that “when God sends a prophet to a people – it has never been to congradulate them on how well they have been doing – collectively, in living a Christ-like life.’ (something said to that effect.)

    Scripture is ‘the Living Word of God’ – no man will or can ever change that fact. All of it past, prestant and future (sealed portions of the Book of Mormon) will be beneficial for all who value it and use it first and foremost in their personal life and when they have an opportunity fo share it – whit the Holy Ghost to back up the ‘testimony’ of it.

    I’ll need some time to see about making a post as a resonse to this for now.

    2 Nephi 4:15 “…For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart ponereth them…”

    Good advice in any dispensation.

  10. I love the newroom article. Thanks for the link. I’ll definitely add it to my site.

  11. […] be what you want; but, it’s a diffferent perspective to consider, or to add to your arguments….. The Return of Polygamy LDS Anarchy __________________ Pvt. – Mountain Meadow Militia (the Mormogon Skrimishers). Freeing the world […]

  12. I totally agree. I have thought that for some time, and I am glad to hear other mormons feel that way too!

  13. Marriages contracted outside the church are NOT VALID. Sexual relations would be contrary to the teachings of Prophet Alma and others. However, the law of chastity is not violated if it is a celibate marriage, possibly between very old people who no longer experience lust.

    Geriatric polygamy seems a reasonable system because women live longer. Among the aged, there are far more women than men. But for those of child-bearing age, the teachings of the prophet must be understood and respected.

  14. Marriages contracted outside the church are NOT VALID.

    So you can’t have sex if you’re only married in a civil ceremony?

  15. Who cares if the Church does not excommunicate you if you were to get married to a plural wife? If you are not sealed to that person, what would it really profit you?

  16. This issue is why I left the LDS faith. My soon-to-be husband, whose was a son of the bishop, informed me that if polygamy became law the LDS could reinstate it. If the Prophet reinstated polygamy, as a wife, there was nothing I could do it about it. If my soon-to-be husband wanted to take another wife or wives I had no say. It was his choice. He could listen to my concerns but otherwise I had to suck it up and deal.

    I said no way to him and the faith. I too felt that polygamy could be legalized in my lifetime. The odds that the Prophet would reinstate polygamy are pretty darn high. And I could tell my ex-fiance liked the idea of more than one wife.

    I did ask his father about this situation. And he confirmed all of it to be true. 😦

  17. FXSmom,

    How about you having multiple husbands?

  18. I wonder, if you married a non-LDS man, and then polygamy became legalized in this country, what would stop your non-LDS husband from legally taking another wife? I also wonder, if the laws governing marriage change and say that polygamy is now valid and legal, as long as the spouse or spouses agree to the new marriage, an LDS man couldn’t legally take another wife without your say-so. My understanding is that you don’t give up your rights as a citizen as soon as you join the LDS (or any) church. Even if polygamy did become legalized, along with “same-sex marriage,” it would probably open the floodgates to all types of marriage, including group marriage and polygyny. I just can’t see Americans reaching the point where they say two people of the same sex can marry and a man can marry as many women as he wants to, without permission from his current spouse(s), without also saying, a woman can marry as many men as she wants, without the permission of her husband(s). Americans today seem to be all about fairness. But maybe I’m wrong.

    What I really wonder, though, is what happens if the state gets out of the marriage business altogether?

  19. LDS Anarchist,

    Polygyny is one man and many women. Polyandry is what I think you meant to bring up, which is one woman and many men.

    Mormon “polygamy” is in English “plural marriage”, which includes both polygamy and polyandry, and always has.

  20. Oops, typo:

    Mormon plural marriage includes both polygyny and polyandry.

    The evidence is irrefutable, but there is a Satanic influence within the Church that will deny the proof at all costs.

  21. Sorry about that. I had a brain fart. Thanks for the correction. Yes, I meant to say “polyandry,” not “polygyny.” I’ve been working so much these days I can’t think straight enough to type a coherent sentence anymore. And yes, I agree with you that Mormon plural marriage encompasses both polygyny and polyandry. I thought I had already posted on this topic, but as I look over the blog and the draft articles, I realize that I always meant to post on it, but have never gotten around to it. I’ve discussed this topic at length with what4anarchy, which is why I thought it was old news, but I’ve never brought up the subject directly in depth on this blog. Maybe I should stop working and publish some of these draft articles laying around, huh?

    It’s interesting, too, as FXSmom’s comment brought to my mind the very draft article (which has been sitting in unpublished blogland for months) that addresses both her concern over her former LDS fiance and the topic of polyandry. I’ve been hesitant whether to talk about it on this comment thread or to just get off my duff and finish the draft article, making it its own post. Although I briefly touched on the subject of polyandry in Deep Waters: How many wives? How many husbands? (which didn’t go over too well on those who actually read that piece), I never actually expounded on the doctrine and I think it deserves a spotlight. (Now that I think about it, maybe the reason I held off from completing and publishing the more in-depth draft article was due to the response I got from that Deep Waters article…)

  22. About 20 years ago I thought that we’d see the day when gay marriage was legalized, then shortly after, when polyandry was legalized. I’ve always wondered what the Church would do in this new legal environment. My guess is that the Church will remain as is, status quo with husband and wife. The wrinkle, which Anarchist pointed out, is what will the church do with members who choose to live in a completely “legal” polyandrous marriage? Again, the Chursh probably will remain status quo, i.e., ex-communicate. But, maybe not? Another wrinkle: What about Jim, Jane, and Jennifer, all non-LDS in a polygamous relationship who decide to join the church with their 10 children? How do you tell them, “no, in order to join this church you have to be married to one woman”. Which woman? It gets sticky, particularly with our history.

    Change is a comin’… just a matter of when. And, there will be some people unhappy.

  23. If you do write that article, remember to cite D&C 132:41, which is, I think, the best scriptural support for women having multiple husbands in the Mormon practice of plural marriage (one must necessarily violate Ockham’s Razor in explaining away this verse):

    And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.

    So if a woman is appointed to two men by the holy anointing, she has not committed adultery, right there in our own scriptures.

    There are also many examples from Mormon history. For example, Parley P. Pratt’s wife was simultaneously sealed to Pratt “for time” and to Joseph Smith, Jr., “for time and all eternity” (upon their deaths, she was resealed to Pratt “for time and all eternity”). See footnote #45 on page 103 about Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt Smith in the PDF of “‘Mormon’ Women’s Protest: An Appeal for Freedom, Justice and Equal Rights”, a 91-page Mormon feminist pro-polygamy pamphlet from 1886 which was published as an official communique from the Relief Society to the government of the United States:

    My mom has three husbands and my dad has three wives (in the eternities, here on Earth we have divorce records). But it is Mormon practice, clearly explained in the Bishops’ Church Handbook of Instruction, that upon their deaths my family will seal my mother by proxy “for time and all eternity” to all of her legal spouses. Coming to terms with this fact helped me in coming to terms with my mother’s divorces.

    My mother has a clear understanding of this doctrine, but she believes we are currently too wicked to practice polygamy on Earth, so she is happy to wait to have her three husbands in the resurrection.

  24. I wish anyone who says that polygamy being legal or illegal isn’t central to its prohibition within the Church would actually read than Manifesto(s) once in a while.

  25. I have just recently found your blog and have been enjoying reading the different articles about anarchy and the like. For the most part I find your writing very intriguing and eye opening. And thanks to you I have also been led on to one who is watching and have been reading those blogs too. Now to my point I have always just taken polygamy at face value based on what was in D&C 132 and what the early prophets had to say about it. But recently the whole issue has been under my skin and bothering me. What I am about to say is largely influenced by the following website which has a book entitled Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy. You can visit the website and scroll down to read the book. Surprisingly enough you would think that it was an anti-lds site but it is an RLDS site and so I actually take them seriously because they do believe in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, prophets, priesthood authority, baptism etc. Whether or not they have the whole truth is not what I am about to argue but rather whether or not polygamy is truly from God. In the Book of Mormon Jacob 2 says in vs 23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.
    24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. Yet in D&C 132 it says the opposite, that David and Solomon were justified. In my mind they can’t both be right. Please read the aforementioned book and consider the following. 1 the story is that Joseph Smith was threatened by an angel with a sword and told that he had to practice polygamy. My thoughts on that are that the Lord would never force anyone to do something, we are given free agency and are allowed to choose for ourselves. 2. In D&C 132 it talks about how Emma has to receive the women that have been given to Joseph. ( Once again a matter of force instead of free agency ) I always heard that Emma was against the whole polygamy thing from the start and never agreed to it. and so we are told that the first wife has to give her consent or the man is not allowed to take another wife. hmmmh sounds like Emma never gave her permission 3. Either Joseph was a monogamist in public and a polygamist in private and lied about it the whole time or he was afraid to divulge the whole polygamy thing and face opposition and persecution. That just doesn’t sit well with me because he was not a liar, he was the prophet. So now for the whole persecution thing. Why wouldn’t he just come out as a polygamist when he was already facing tons of persecution for all the other things that he was trying to teach people. 4. With all the problems that were in the church and opposition to the church and the Lord knowing the start from the end why would he cause the people to take up polygamy something he knew that they would be forced to give up. 5. I have read several memoirs or histories of mormon women who practiced polygamy and how awful it made them feel and how the original wife would be left alone by her husband who would go to live with one of the younger wives. That just doesn’t sit well with me. granted not all of the polygamists acted that way but some did and I don’t think it is right. 6. A righteous seed? This is the way Lds interpret the following scripture. Jacob” For if I will, saith the Lord of hosts, raise up [righteous] seed [or people] unto me, I will command my people [to practice polygamy]: otherwise [if the Lord does not give the commandment to practice polygamy], they shall hearken unto these things [Jacob’s instruction to not practice it]. ”
    According to the book Joseph Fought against Polygamy it says the following is the way it should be interpreted. “For if I will, saith the Lord of hosts, raise up [righteous] seed unto me, I will command my people [the Lord will be their commander—He will give them commandments to obey]: otherwise [if the Lord is not their commander; or they do not obey His commandments], they shall hearken unto these things [they shall practice the sins of polygamy].” These are just a few thoughts that I have had, some of them since I read the book Joseph Fought Against Polygamy. Some of them even before.

  26. chameleon: you may want to check out my blog at It discusses some of the issues you raised.

  27. chameleon and jsdefender, there is a post on this blog called, Scriptural Discussion #16: David and Solomon, where you can discuss Jacob and D&C 132 in depth, if you’d like.

  28. This just in:

    Mormons accused of polygamy to use gay marriage as defense

    The above comes from, a gay news service. It’ll be interesting to see how the Canadian court rules.

  29. Apparently those writing the same-sex “marriage” laws have gotten wise that they can (and likely will) be used to defend polygamy and so they are now starting to write them with built-in prohibitions against polygamy. I gotta say, in all honesty, that I didn’t see that one coming… Perhaps they got the idea from this post? Anyway, here are the articles about New Hampshire and Maine’s new same sex “marriage” laws:

    NH’s “Same Sex Marriage” Law “Discriminates” Against Polygamy

    Maine’s “Same Sex Marriage” Law “Discriminates” Against Polygamy

  30. I think you expressed my own thoughts on this… no state interference in marriage period.

  31. I’d like to add another site reference to the list of Polygamy support/grassroots

    It focuses on polygyny and has a strong Mormon slant but is open to other viewpoints.

    And I will voice my support in getting government OUT of marriage completely 🙂

  32. The central purpose of polygamy is to give spirits a physical body as all so are concubines. The next major purpose of polygamy is to maintain the genetics of certain bloodlines. Joseph Smith was a direct decsendent of Jesus Christ and Joseph who was sold into Egypt. Joseph Smith and his wives were for foreordained to this purpose. David and Solomon got away from the truth path in several respects but were initially justified in living patriarchal marriage. Joseph Smith was a moral man of the highest order, He however understood God’s plan far better than any other man. He cannot be held to the same standard as the gentiles. After all momogamy is a huge fiailure. The Holy Ghost gives me athority to say these things.

  33. Additional thoughts on polygamy: Polygamy is the lightening rod to bring the adversry to your front door. Joseph Smtih was warned that the enemy was already in secret chambers plotting his destruction. This covenant lineage is greatly feared by the devil. The devil s represented to day by those that claim to be the legal heirs to the Davidic throne, they target for destruction any one or any group that could be the covenant lineage, they identify them as polgamists. David Coresh claimed to be the legal heir to the Davidic throne hence the name the Branch Davidians, he publicly made this claim. David Coresh and almost 100 of his followers were were destoyed by the U.S. military violating the posse comotatus act. The U.S. government is the little horn. The disproportionate persecution of polgamous groups in the U.S. and the promotion of gay unions in the same is the attempt to destroy the covenant lineage of God. Those that claim to sit on the throne of David today are the House of Wndsor, they claim to be direct descendents of Jesus Christ, King david and the prophet MoHammed. All powers today either directley or indirectley answer to the House of Windsor, the federal reserve bank, master masons, united nations, foreign relations commission, intrnational monetary system , the Bohemian club, Bilderberg Scociety etc. This the great secret combination that the Book of Mormon warned us of, Ether chap; 8 verses 20-26. Prince Charles is the Anti Christ, the federal reserve is his fiancier. The church maintains its tax exempt status and is therefore a sub contractor of the federal reserve which makes them part and parcel to the anti-christ. Now you know why they persecute the polgamists groups so vehnemently. The next pope shall be the false prophet the pres. of the U.S. is the beast.

  34. From the NOM blog:

    Matthew Lewis in the Daily Caller asks, with the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA, why doesn’t the government have an obligation to honor polygamous ‘marriages’ as well?

    “…The arguments [for gay marriage and polygamy] are essentially the same. For example, Sen. Al Franken recently issued a statement saying, “Our country is starting to understand that it’s not about what a family looks like: it’s about their love and commitment to one another.” Polygamists couldn’t agree more.

    I mean, who are we to say that two or three or even four consenting adults — who want to make a lifelong commitment to love each other — shouldn’t be allowed to do so?

    What’s magical about the number two?

    In fact, you could argue that there is an even better argument for polygamy than for same sex marriage. For one thing, there’s a long tradition (just look at the heroes of the Old Testament.) It’s also intimately tied to religious practice, which means that by prohibiting polygamy, we might also be undermining the “free exercise thereof.”

    Why should we impose our values on others?…”

    The full article is found here:

    The case for polygamy

  35. I have always known that polygamy would naturally follow on the heels of legalized same-gender marriage — and I’ve predicted in the past [though not prophesied] that, when both are legalized by the state, the LDS church would begin sanctioning same-gender marriages in LDS meetinghouses and temples before they would ever reinstitute polygamous families.

    I think they shut the door so hard on polygamy that if a change is made to begin solemnizing these other forms of marriage once they’re legalized — that they’d go with same-gender marriages but continue to cite Official Declaration 2 as reason against polygamous ones.

  36. I would love to poll all the LDS that would like to see SSM legalized and accepted by the church, whether they would also like to see polygamy legalized and acceptable within the church, to test your theory. I think you ought to do a Wheat and Tares poll, like wheatmeister does regularly, with choice options such as:

    -For legalized SSM and polygamy; For church acceptance of both

    -For legalized SSM and polygamy; Against church acceptance of both

    -For legalized SSM and church acceptance; Against legalized polygamy and church acceptance

    -Against legalized SSM and polygamy; Against church acceptance of both

    etc., with all the various belief combinations.

  37. I e-mailed MH about this poll idea and he said that he’d post it.

  38. Everyone go check out the poll mentioned in the comments above — it’s posted at Wheat and Tares now.

    Will Polygamy Follow Same-Sex Marriage?

  39. As of right now [with 55 votes] — the break-down is:

    For legalized SSM beating legal Poly [60% to 49%]
    Against legalized Poly beating the against SSM [51% to 40%]

    For acceptance of SSM over acceptable Poly [44% to 33%]
    Against acceptance of Poly beating the against SSM [67% to 56%]

    So — so far — my prediction is holding true [among W&T readers at least]. People are more receptive to legalized and church-accepted same-gender marriages than they are to legalized and church-accepted plural marriages [and more likely to be against polygamy than to be against SSM].

    Does my prediction fit into your prophecy about same-gender marriage and the future of the church, LDSA? Maybe I should devote some time to discovering if that prediction is indeed a prophetic reality — or if it’s just my own good guess …

  40. I think that poll is only accurate in taking a reading of the (now) 56 Wheat and Tares readers that responded. There are probably many lurkers who chose not to take the poll. Wheat and Tares readership doesn’t appear to me to be entirely composed of LDS, so the sample may be of a mix of active Mormons, inactive Mormons, ex-Mormons, and non-Mormons. Some might be believing Mormons and others non-believers. Should you run that same poll on another LDS blog, whose readership is more mainstream than W&T, you might end up with entirely different numbers. Even though this blog is not mainstream, I don’t think there are many unbelievers that come here, so in that respect, even this blog might be more representative of the active, LDS population than those that read W&T.

    What struck me most about the W&T poll is that there is no clear majority opinion. This issue, so far, appears very divisive. Of the five options you gave, the votes are split 27%, 25%, 18%, 16% and 14%. If this sample were representative of the whole church, and there were no compromise, it would split the church into small factions and the keys would be lost. I had expected that 27% to be greater than 50%, but I am quite surprised at the low number it has so far gotten. This leads me to suspect that people have not, yet, made up their minds concerning this issue and there may be movement from one viewpoint to another, based on a change of circumstance or new information.

  41. 58 votes

    For legalized SSM beating legal Poly [59% to 48%]
    Against legalized Poly beating the against SSM [52% to 41%]

    For acceptance of SSM over acceptable Poly [43% to 33%]
    Against acceptance of Poly beating the against SSM [67% to 57%]

    I think that if the poll were done where there’s a more mainstream readership — then we’d see the “against legalization and against church acceptance of both” go up significantly, but I think we’d still see that anti-polygamy is stronger than anti-SSM.

  42. I think 61 votes is pretty much all that the poll is going to get:

    Legalized same-gender marriage [61% for — 39% against]
    Legalized polygamy [48% for — 53% against]

    Church acceptance of same-gender marriage [44% for — 56% against]
    Church acceptance of polygamy [69% for — 31% against]

    Legalized same-gender marriage was a majority opinion — and legalized polygamy was getting no support

    But, I suppose LDSA will be comforted that “church acceptance of SSM” was only 44% [not quite a majority] — while “church acceptance of polygamy” was the most popular position [at 69%].

  43. I have always known that polygamy would naturally follow on the heels of legalized same-gender marriage — and I’ve predicted in the past [though not prophesied] that, when both are legalized by the state, the LDS church would begin sanctioning same-gender marriages in LDS meetinghouses and temples before they would ever reinstitute polygamous families.

    Based on this extremely small and non-representative sample, then, your prediction would not be correct, at least as far as the people (and not the leadership) are concerned. They are more ready to accept polygamy at church then they are SSM. Politically, though, the reverse is true.

  44. I think that the mainstream LDS population would end up giving poll numbers like this, differing only slightly from the W&T folks:

    Legalized same-gender marriage [minority for — majority against]
    Legalized polygamy [minority for — majority against]

    Church acceptance of same-gender marriage [minority for — majority against]
    Church acceptance of polygamy [majority for — minority against]

  45. I still highly doubt that the majority of mainstream LDS would poll “for” church acceptance of polygamy. I remember polygamy not polling too well in a Pew research report about Mormons and their beliefs a couple years ago. And the leadership already doesn’t accept polygamy in countries where it’s legal.

    So I agree with everything you said above — expect I change: Church acceptance of polygamy to be [minority for — majority against].

  46. Why do you think, then, that the W&T readership were pro-polygamy, church-wise? Since I’ve been reading W&T, I don’t think I’ve seen much of anything supporting polygamy, from either contributors or those that comment, so I would imagine that many of the (now) 66 people who took the poll were LDS lurkers, possibly even mainstream LDS. How else can one account for the result? Who else would be pro-polygamy in the church? Certainly not inactives, ex-Mormons, or non-believers.

  47. BTW, although there are many countries in which polygamy is not against the law, the Church still bans or prohibits polygamous marriages in those countries. Further, if someone is living in a polygamous marriage and they receive the Gospel, they are not allowed to be baptized until they give up one of their other wives.

  48. Jim — that’s part of the reason I’ve made the prediction I have.

    The church presently refuses to acknowledge/solemnize polygamous marriages in countries where they are legal according to the laws of that country. And though, based on the wording of OD1, it’s reasonable that legalization should instantly reinstate polygamy — leaders like President Gordon Hinckley don’t see it that way:

    Question 4: What is the Church’s position on polygamy?
    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” (A of F 1:12). One cannot obey the law and disobey the law at the same time.
    More than a century ago God clearly revealed unto His prophet Wilford Woodruff that the practice of plural marriage should be discontinued, which means that it is now against the law of God. Even in countries where civil or religious law allows polygamy, the Church teaches that marriage must be monogamous and does not accept into its membership those practicing plural marriage.

    (What are People Asking About us?)

    I like his answer very much because it shows clearly how the mainstream LDS think about this issue. Gordon first frames his answer in terms of the civil illegality of people obtaining more than one state-issued marriage license.

    The Church, of course, has no jurisdiction whatever in this matter,

    he then says — as if to wipe his hands of the matter.

    Yet — as if realizing the loophole he just opened up for members who live in nations that do not outlaw plural marriages, as well as any who might try to skip state-authorization for a plural union [thus rendering their additional spouse fully legal] — he makes sure to add:

    Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church.

    Oh — and on what basis would that be?

    More than a century ago God clearly revealed unto His prophet Wilford Woodruff that the practice of plural marriage should be discontinued, which means that it is now against the law of God.

    That would be the “revelation” which states:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.

    What circular reasoning we have here. Wilford says that since its against the laws of the state, then it would be best if the saints stop doing it. Then Gordon says that since Wilford said we shouldn’t, then it doesn’t matter if it’s against the laws of the state or not.

    It’s that kind of mind-set [as shown by Pres. Hinckley] that made me predict a few years back that when both are legalized by the government, the LDS church would begin sanctioning same-gender marriages before they would ever reinstitute/allow polygamous marriages.

  49. I just noticed I’d labeled “church acceptance of polygamy” backwards [I’d put the “against”s as being “for”, and vice versa] — so now that there’s 69 votes — the results now stand:

    Legalized same-gender marriage [59% for — 41% against]
    Legalized polygamy [46% for — 54% against]

    Church acceptance of same-gender marriage [44% for — 57% against]
    Church acceptance of polygamy [30% for — 70% against]

    With that correction — I was wrong to say that the most popular position was “church acceptance of polygamy”. The single most popular position is being against the church reinstating polygamy, come hell or high-water [which is about what I expect, and supports the prediction I made] — and a majority were against the state even legalizing women and men having plural spouses, whereas the majority were for the state legalizing same-gender unions [which is about what I expected too].

  50. Ah, now that makes more sense. I should have double checked your numbers, but I was too lazy.

  51. Okay, so I double-checked your numbers for the poll (now at 71 persons sampled) and I got:

    Legalized same-gender marriage [57% for — 43% against]
    Legalized polygamy [55% against — 45% for]

    Church acceptance of polygamy [70% against — 30% for]
    Church acceptance of same-gender marriage [58% against — 42% for]

  52. Re: the circular reasoning of Hinckley, I always read those words as an attempt to present to the world the front of “We are no longer polygamous, so don’t worry about joining our church. See, even in countries where it is legal for polygamy, we don’t allow it, so polygamy is behind us.”

    But the real meaning of his words, as understood by a LDS, would be: “As long as the U.S. laws are against polygamy, so are we. The laws of other nations do not apply, since this church conforms itself to the U.S. laws. We will excommunicate polygamists for now, but if and when the U.S. laws change, all bets are off, for we have been commanded to obey this principle if we are enabled to.”

    My suspicion is that there are very many LDS who hold this unstated understanding.

    I think there may be several factions in the church regarding polygamy:

    those who believe polygamy was of God and expect (or want) it to return and are okay with it;

    those who believe it was of God and suspect it might return and who are uneasy with it, but who will obey the word of the Lord and make whatever sacrifice is required of them;

    those who believe it was of God but was to be lived for only that one time in the past and that it will not return and who, if it returns, would need a further witness to remain in the church or who will oppose its reinstatement;

    and those who do not believe it was an inspired doctrine and do not expect or wish it to return and who will leave the church if it ever does.

    The first question, then, is do the latter-day saints believe this doctrine was given of God? I think the overwhelming majority do, in fact, believe this. The next question is do the Brethren themselves believe this. I think the answer is likely, “Yes.” But nobody desires to publicly declare this unless we absolutely have to, since that might scare away potential converts.

    So, a poll of the LDS may yield data contrary to what the LDS would actually do in real world situations, because of our need to paint the church in a good light (a monogamous light) before the world.

  53. Ah, now that makes more sense. I should have double checked your numbers, but I was too lazy.

    Yeah — I should’ve double-checked myself as soon as I saw polygamy was doing so well. That was an obvious red-flag that I may have mis-labeled something.

    So, a poll of the LDS may yield data contrary to what the LDS would actually do in real world situations, because of our need to paint the church in a good light (a monogamous light) before the world.

    That’s certainly true. There’s always a dynamic of polling according to what people think they ought to answer versus what they really feel inside.

    It might also be true that anti-polygamy is just stronger among online LDS. A hefty majority of members I’ve talked to online would not go along with polygamy were it to be legalized and reinstated by the church — however we have met more LDS in person [usually women] than I would have guessed who tell us that they’d like to have plural spouses in the church again.

    But I think I’m still keeping my prediction [as it relates to what the church leadership will do as “official policy”]: when both forms of non-hetero, non-monogamous marriages are legalized in all states by the federal government — the church will either not change anything with their current marriage policies [they’ll “stand firm” with traditional marriage] — or they’ll announce a “progressive policy change” and will begin to recognize and seal legal same-gender marriages [but will not change back to recognizing polygyny, and definitely won’t have anything to do with polyandry].

  54. The leadership appear to me to be tied down to the lawyers. I’m not sure if the church could legally accept polygamy even if the law allowed it. I don’t know what kind of agreements they signed to get the law off their backs. Did they agree to never again practice polygamy in perpetuity, or just until the law allowed it? So, the leadership will likely follow the best advice of their legal team, whatever that may be.

  55. I don’t know if you noticed, but “against legalization and against church acceptance of both” is now the top pick of your poll at W&T, garnering 28% (21 votes) out of 76 total voters. So maybe W&T is more mainstream than I thought.

  56. Yeah — the top 2 choices are exactly in line with what I foresee happening in the church:

    * either the status quo of “supporting the traditional definition of marriage” will be upheld no matter what

    “Against both legalized same-gender marriage and polygamy; and against church acceptance of both”

    * or, if a change is made to accept any non-hetero, non-monogamous form of marriage — then an inspired “progressive policy change” will rolled-out in which we accept monogamous same-gender couples into the church, but polygyny will stay taboo [and polyandry won’t even be considered]

    “For legalized same-gender marriage and its acceptance in the church; but against legalized polygamy and its church acceptance”

    And I was surprised to see that the least popular position was the one that I think best fits the scriptural exegesis you’ve put into the comments on the Marriage Equality post.

    “For legalized polygamy and its acceptance in the church; but against legalized same-gender marriage and its church acceptance”

    which I thought more Mormons would have agreed with.

  57. so i figured here would be an ok place to ask. in the past i remember coming across something on this blog that cited the reason Zion had failed for the gentiles was because of their desire to have their separate families live in separate houses on sepearated plots of land. could someone please point me to the right post.

  58. woops forgot to get notified of follow up comments

  59. Justin, you’ve got the numbers wrong. The “against everything” option is at 28% and the other one is at 25%.

    What surprised me most about the least popular option is that it garnered so many votes (14%) on a site like W&T, which has such an anti-polygamy feel to it.

  60. Thanks for noticing — I fixed it above. My mind’s been elsewhere recently. At least that wasn’t like the for-vs.-against polygamy mistake, in that it didn’t affect my point …

  61. I believe that polygamy will be legalized nationally, after SSM is, and far sooner then we think. And I believe that polygamy will, like wildfire, then gain favor with many and acceptance by most.

    I also believe that the Church will shortly thereafter again allow polygamous marriages in the temple for living spouses, for the church leaders today still seem to desire it and believe in it and support it as much as possible, especially by allowing ‘serial polygamy’.

    The Church has never repented of or disavowed polygamy, it only ended it because it was against the law. It appears that all church leaders have believed in polygamy even til today, many of them have been sealed to more then one wife for eternity themselves. And they continue to preach, promise and promote polygamy, and continue to seal men to multiple women, even living wives too, serially after divorce and remarriage. Thus many men are sealed to multiple living women today, or so they think they are.

    And of course most members believe in or are accepting of polygamy (even if they may not like the idea) or they wouldn’t be members.

    No one would continue believing in the Church if they are repulsed by polygamy and know that it is wrong and abusive and can see that Christ condemned polygamy in all instances and called it adultery. They would never think that Joseph Smith or Brigham Young or any other leader after them could have ever been true prophets because they would know that true prophets follow Christ and ‘all’ of his commandments and they don’t lie, commit adultery or abuse wives or women and children.

    But I believe the return of full polygamy in the Church will be the last straw for many who already see so many red flags and thus they will finally leave the Church and know it is false.

    But it will also draw many non-members in, especially men, for as we know, polygamy is very alluring to the carnal man, and unfortunately, as history shows, most women will go along with it, even if they don’t like it.

    But I find that most members I know, especially male members, would be accepting of polygamy when the Church reinstates it, many looking forward to it. Even most single LDS mothers I know seem to be very accepting of current ‘serial polygamy’ and have no problem dating/marrying men who were married to other women before or who have a deceased wife waiting for them in heaven. So many are just fine with the idea of ‘sharing’ a husband, one night or year at a time.
    Thus it seems most of those women would accept polygamy quite easily instead of continuing to struggle financially and be alone the rest of their life.

    So I believe not only is polygamy coming back soon on the heels of SSM, but that it’s only a matter of time before the Church caves once again to political or popular pressure, in order to keep it’s customers happy & their doors open for business.

    For the Church has shown all along that it has never cared a hoot about what Christ wants, but only about what the majority of their members want.

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