In light of current events happening in the state of Texas regarding a group of polygamists, I feel I should explain a little more about polygamy. To quell any doubts in your mind, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), do not, I repeat, do not engage in polygamy. Men have only one wife and women have only one husband. This has been the law in our church for 117 1/2 years now. If anyone associates in any way with the practice of polygamy and they do not disavow their practices they are excommunicated from our Church, no questions asked.
I have one wife and thank goodness I have only one wife! I would have double the honey-do list if I had two and I can’t even keep up with the one.
It is true that in our early history there were men who had multiple wives. The reason? We believe in continuing revelation from God as the method for guiding the Church and its people. That is, we believe that God speaks to us through prophets, just as he always has from Adam down to Jesus Christ and the original twelve apostles. We believe that God called Joseph Smith as a prophet, just as he had all of the previous prophets. We also believe that God commanded Joseph Smith to institute this practice of polygamy and to his credit, he was obedient. We don’t know exactly why God commanded this, but polygamy is not a new thing. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had multiple wives; Moses did too. Like I said, God commanded and these men obeyed.
In this same vein, on September 24, 1890, Wilford Woodruff, then president and prophet of our Church declared that from this date forward, plural marriages would not be allowed. This was to be in accordance with the constitutional laws that had been established. As quick as it began, it was ended. You must realize that this declaration became a binding doctrine upon all members of our church at that time and ever since. If they did not heed the declaration, they found their way out of the church.
You must also realize that there were those who were not happy with this. Those who disagreed and would not follow the established doctrine called Wilford Woodruff a fallen prophet and split from our church. They set up their own church, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). These are the people who are still practicing polygamy today in Colorado City, AZ/Hildale, UT and Eldorado, TX as well as other places. They still recognize Joseph Smith as a prophet, as well as Brigham Young and John Taylor, the second and third prophets, but not Wilford Woodruff the fourth prophet of our Church. Why they believe that God could command one thing, but not be able to stop it is beyond my understanding.
The members of the FLDS church still read the Book of Mormon and I assume they share a majority of their beliefs with the Mormon Church. They are not all bad people, they are good people. I have dealt personally with many who practice polygamy. They work hard and they do a lot of good in this world, but they have their own beliefs and we, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, have our beliefs. I don’t condemn them for having their own beliefs, but I do not condone their practices. As I said, the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not practice polygamy.
I hope that this helps you all understand where the Church stands on this issue that comes up over and over again. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.