Tag: polygamy

Polygamy and “Extra Women”

The idea that polygamy helped provide spouses for a surplus of women who had joined the Church is an old one, as is its purported refutation. However, the refutations I read were based on Census data and didn’t seem super rigorous since 1) censuses include children born in the Church, and 2) not everybody in a Utah Census is LDS.  To get a clearer picture of converts to the Church, I wrote a program that scraped the helpful Overland Pioneer Database and created a spreadsheet of names, ages, and what year they traveled. (While I’ve posted the code, fortunately/unfortunately the overland database was very recently merged into the Church History Biographical Database, so the code is already out of date). I then calculated percent female of adults for each cohort. In the aggregate it looks like post-Utah War (with one outlier year) there are slightly more women among those who are 18+ and for whom we have a solid year of migration. A few surprises:  I thought that female converts might decline relative to men after the Church went public with polygamy, but this doesn’t appear to be the case. Matter of fact, the number of women relative to men increased after the Church “came out of the closet” as polygamist. Obviously then, to stop the hemorrhaging of women the Church needs to reinstate polygamy (relax ProgMos, I’m kidding).   However, men are overrepresented among those with an unknown age. While…

Listen to the stories of those who hurt because of the ghost of eternal polygamy

a review of Carol Lynn Pearson’s The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy: Haunting the Hearts and Heaven of Mormon Women and Men I don’t think about polygamy much. I have no interest in participating in it (in this life or another). It doesn’t come up much in my conversations, except as I discuss my polygamous ancestors from the early Church or the lives of Brother Joseph or Brother Brigham and their contemporaries. I am one of those for whom, as Carol Lynn Pearson writes, “it is not to be taken very seriously.” But Pearson argues that there are others, “a great many, I think,” for whom “it is a blight, rather like the crickets that destroy a crop.” To that I say, but wait, didn’t we — and by we I mean the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — give up polygamy more than a century ago? Well, yes and no. Members of the Church who enter into polygamous relationships today are excommunicated. But the promise of polygamy in the next life lingers, as evidenced by these practices: A widowed Mormon man can be sealed to another wife, and another after that, “secure in the promise that they will be his in eternity.” A widowed Mormon woman cannot be sealed to another man. Wow, that does sound a lot like polygamy, waiting to be lived once we cross to the other side of the veil. And while I hadn’t…

Incredulous About Joseph Smith’s Polygamy

Incredulous About Joseph Smith's Polygamy

Entrenched in Mormon Culture I am a 7th generation Mormon who grew up in Utah County. I attended church all my life, had regular family scripture study and FHE. My dad was a BYU math professor and my mom a devout scripture scholar. I graduated from seminary and graduated from BYU (with all its required religion courses) and married a 5th generation, returned missionary in the temple. And I didn’t learn that Joseph Smith personally practiced polygamy until I was in my 20s. I had heard the story about Emma pushing Eliza down the stairs, causing a miscarriage in her jealous rage. But it was all fabricated nonsense created by anti-Mormons trying to defame the prophet. Like everything else that looked or sounded unsavory. Everyone knew about the public polygamy in Utah. Every year our elementary class toured the Beehive House, complete with all the wives’ bedrooms and  fairly open discussion about managing the logistics. Polygamous ancestors were a dime a dozen (or two). Whenever the topic of plural marriage came up it was usually swept away with a Gordon-B-Hinkley-like flick of the wrist. “It’s behind us.” We don’t practice it. Move on. Nothing to see here. 

Decriminalizing Polygamy (and, of Course, Tax)

On Friday, December 13, the Judge Waddoups, a district court judge in the District of Utah, held that Utah’s criminalization of polygamy was unconstitutional. Partly, anyway.

More on that in a minute. I suspect that this opinion will reverberate throughout the blogosphere and the mainstream media, with the reporting displaying various levels of accuracy. The question I suspect won’t get much play, though, is, what are the tax consequences of this decision?

From the Archives: The Reynolds Jury Charge

The trial court in Reynolds v. United States gave the following jury charge, which the Supreme Court later found was proper and not inflammatory. I think it not improper, in the discharge of your duties in this case, that you should consider what are to be the consequences to the innocent victims of this delusion.