St. George Temple

WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY     (Washington County, Utah)

POLYGAMY   (aka PLURAL MARRIAGE)

in Washington County, Utah

HISTORY

Polygamy (or more accurately, Polygyny) was instituted among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormons) in the early 1840s. It was practiced by some Church members in Utah's Dixie during the latter half of the 19th century.

In 1890, Church President Wilford Woodruff issued a statement that led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church. In this statement, known as the Manifesto, President Woodruff declared his intention to abide by U.S. law forbidding plural marriage and to use his influence to convince members of the Church to do likewise.

After the Manifesto, monogamy was advocated in the Church both over the pulpit and through the press. On an exceptional basis, some new plural marriages were performed between 1890 and 1904, especially in Mexico and Canada, outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law. A small number of plural marriages were performed within the United States during those years. In 1904, the Church strictly prohibited new plural marriages.

Today, any person who practices plural marriage cannot become or remain a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, there are still splinter groups (no longer affiliated with the LDS Church) practicing polygamy in Utah and elsewhere.


REFERENCES

Probing the High Prevalence of Polygyny in St. George, 1861-1880: An Introduction
by Davis Bitton, Val Lambson, Lowell C. "Ben" Bennion, and Kathryn M. Daynes
BYU Studies Quarterly,   Volume 51, Number 4 (2012),   Pages 4-6

Demographic Limits of Nineteenth-Century Mormon Polygyny
by Davis Bitton and Val Lambson
BYU Studies Quarterly,   Volume 51, Number 4 (2012),   Pages 7-26

Mapping the Extent of Plural Marriage in St. George, 1861-1880
by Lowell C. "Ben" Bennion
BYU Studies Quarterly,   Volume 51, Number 4 (2012),   Pages 27-68

Striving to Live the Principle in Utah's First Temple City: A Snapshot of Polygamy in St. George, Utah, in June 1880
by Kathryn M. Daynes
BYU Studies Quarterly,   Volume 51, Number 4 (2012),   Pages 69-95

Plural Marriage in St. George: A Summary and an Invitation
by Davis Bitton, Val Lambson, Lowell C. "Ben" Bennion, and Kathryn M. Daynes
BYU Studies Quarterly,   Volume 51, Number 4 (2012),   Pages 96-97

Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah
Statement by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints