"Some early leaders and members of the Church entered into plural marriages during the latter half of the nineteenth century. After receiving a revelation, Church President Wilford Woodruff declared the practice should be discontinued in 1890. That position has been reaffirmed by every President of the Church since. Members of the Church who enter into plural marriage today face Church disciplinary action, including excommunication. "
Why does it say "the latter half of the nineteenth century", when we, as members know that Joseph Smith himself was practicing polygamy as early as 1835? This statement would lead the reader to believe that polygamy started after the Prophet was martyred. Now I know that truth, and honestly among the saints is very important. Why would the official site list inaccurate information?
JOEL - I don't see how the Church web site statement about plural marriage relates inaccurate information. There may have been a few who practiced the principle of polygamy before 1850 but the majority of those who were involved in it were after 1850.
Here's how I understand the history of it. The principle of plural marriage was revealed to Joseph Smith probably in early 1831. Evidence of the actual practicing of the principle is scant throughout the 1830s and 1840s. Few new plural marriages were authorized in Utah before the completion of the Endowment house in Salt Lake City in 1855. After the Saints were firmly established in the Great Basin, Brigham Young announced the practice publicly and published the revelation on eternal marriage. Under his direction, on Sunday, August 29, 1852, Elder Orson Pratt publicly discussed and defended the practice of plural marriage in the Church.
The exact percentage of Latter-day Saints who participated in the practice is not known, but studies suggest a maximum of from 20 to 25 percent of LDS adults were members of polygamous households.
The most active period of time for the practice of polygamy was from 1850 to 1890, or the latter half of the 19th century.
I believe the statement at the LDS site is simply trying to represent the period of time that the Church was most actively involved in the practice. I don't think they are purposely trying to mislead anyone.
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