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A Better Understanding

Spring 2012

CONTENTS A Look Into Polygamy


Founding fathers Mormon sect

The Deeper Meaning


Interpretation of God’s will Edited by Andrew Ko

The Arguement We Need to Know


The pains associated: Social Emotional Physical

Modern Polygamy Today


Polygamy in the US Government Intervention Regulation

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Mormon polygamous families in the nineteenth century were able to obey the Lord’s commandment to “be fruitful and multiply”

A Look Into Polygamy Outsiders often ask Mormons whether they practice polygamy, and the Mormon response is to recite for the thousandth time, that the Latter-day Saints have not practiced polygamy for over a century and that anyone that practices it today is excommunicated. The Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints is not to be con-


is “the act of having more than one spouse at a time. In 1998, the University of Wisconsin surveyed more than a thousand societies. Of them, just 186 were monogamous while some 453 were polygamous. The act of having more than one husband or wife, exists in many forms. When there are more women to one man, it is properly called polygany, but when a woman has more than one husband, it is formally called polyandry. In some cultures, one wife is shared by brothers. Other instances are when a father and son have a common wife, or the wife is in-

fused with the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When founder Joseph F. Smith introduced the idea of polygamy, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints felt repulsed by the idea, and broke off.

The Church of

Jesus Christ

herited by her dead husband’s brothers, father, or even sons. Photograph. The Signature Books Library. Web. <http://signaturebookslibrary. org/?attachment_id=14011>.w

of Latter-Day Saints

and most importantly, attached women and children to men who devotedly covenanted themselves to the Church. 4 | Issue 1

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A Deeper Understanding The Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints believe, although they do not understand why, that the Lord chose to establish plural marriage in the nineteenth century as the Church was beginning. Mormonism acknowledges polygamy as a divine principle that would apply in heaven, although it is no longer practiced on earth. Mormons also believe polygamy is a vital element of their faith, a requirement necessary to attain heaven. Mormons see the practice of polygamy as similar to the biblical figures that were polygamous, Abraham, King Solomon, and Jacob. The Bible states that King David had at least 8 wives with and 10 concubines while King Solomon had 700 wives with 300 concubines. They feel their church includes the “restitution of all things, which God has spoken by mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

Gordon, Tracey “RNS Polygamy Family” Photo. Oct. 20, 2011. April. 23, 2012.

Polygamy also brought the Latter-day Saints together. The practice allowed the Mormons to withhold a specific identity which led to the concept of having a plural spouse to expanded family networks. Joseph Smith, stated that plural marriage was a covenant from God and He commanded the people to obey to avoid eternal penalty in Hell. For the faithful, the practice of polygamy was not a choice.

Fundamentalist church of Latter-Day Saints 6 | Issue 1

“Marriage is the preserver of the human race. Without it, the purposes of God would be frustrated; virtue would be destroyed to give place to vice and corruption, and the earth would be void and empty.” Joseph F. Smith

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In 1857, President James Buchanan sent the U.S. Army to Utah to eliminate polygamy in the “Utah War,” but the move was ineffective and accomplished nothing. Soon after the incident, many legislative actions were placed. The United States government has the constitutional right to enact laws for governing territories; therefore, Congress enacted the Morrill Act of 1862. The Morrill Act of 1862 stated that bigamy, or the act of engaging in polygamy, was a crime punishable with a large fine and up to five years in prison. Gregory Brower, the Arizona U.S. Attorney, said during a Senate hearing in 2008, that there is no federal law against polygamy .

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The practice of engaging in polygamy is illegal in all fifty states, and although the federal government has resources such as the FBI and the IRS to investigate polygamous situations, currently there are no federal legislatures to denounce or ban the practice. The federal government has made numerous attempts to limit polygamy; they have yet to discontinue the practice completely.

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The Arguement Andrea Moore Emmet,

a journalist and researcher who has been writing on the issue of polygamy for over a decade, interviewed Karla Mantilla, a victim of polygamy.

Also, Mantilla said that women, as soon as they engage in polygamy, they take form of property, which explains why women are so commonly abused in polygamous marriages. According to Moore Emmet, polygamists are insiders, associating themselves with other polygamists. The women and children are not exposed to any other lifestyle but the polygamous lifestyle in which they do not have a choice. Moore Emmett compares this phenomenon of having no choice as the Stockholm syndrome. The Stockholm syndrome is when victims of an event, in order to survive, become sympathetic to captors; this exact “situation can be extended to the whole idea of women being manipulated into polygamy, so the women and children are at the mercy of the men who bring them into polygamy.”

Moore Emmett compares this phenomenon of having no choice as the Stockholm syndrome. The Stockholm syndrome is when victims of an event, in order to survive, become sympathetic to captors; this exact “situation can be extended to the whole idea of women being manipulated into polygamy, so the women and children are at the mercy of the men who bring them into polygamy”

Stockholm Syndrome when victims of an event, in order to survive, become sympathetic to captors.

“Polygamy created a context of uncertainty, distrust, envy, and jealousy.”

Hardhips of Children & Teenagers Hardship of Women In the interview, Andrea Moore Emmet focused on the many problems that accompanied the practice of polygamy. According to Moore Emmet, “women in polygamous families are abused physically, sexually, and emotionally.” In one story that Moore Emmet documented, she was told that “a lady was thrown down the stairs while she was pregnant.” Through countless interviews done by Moore Emmett, she found that “men use abuse in order to control 8 | Issue 1

women and children.” found that “men use abuse in order to control women and children.” Due to the normalization the women go through, the women involved in polygamous marriages consider the abuse “as a necessary thing as if they deserved it” says MooreEmmett. This normalization includes constant abuse which consequently leads the women to accept the abuse.

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polygamists believe in a variety of things that may are not in congruence with what the mainstream society believes in today. The polygamists, shuns education as being a “contamination”.

“A vicious cycle of brainwashing, lack of contact with the outside world, conviction of religious duty, and a sad lack of education…” Surprisingly, the practice of polygamy not only affects adults, but also influences children tremendously as well. It has been shown that underage girls pulled into polygamy would be forced to indulge themselves in intercourse with older men with whom they are married.

Children engaged in polygamy are often given harsher and stricter disciplinary actions because their religion calls for physical punishment.

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Polgamy Today

Polygamists will hold strong to their beliefs, doing things they want to do without care of what society says. Without stricter government regulations and legislations, people will continue to indulge in the practice that polygamists believe as Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Will, polygamy.

Polygamy not only is illegal, but it violates the rights of those involved in the practice.

Together, We Can Abolish Polygamy.

With a constantly changing society, there are numerous subtle nuances members of society may not notice. Though in the United States, the practice of polygamy was predominately practiced in the state of Utah. However, due to recent changes, polygamy is practiced all around the world, in a number of countries in Africa and South Asia.

Polygamy World Map. 2006. Photograph. Polygamy World Map. Web. < wiki/Archivo:Polygamy_world_map.png>.

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Thank You

GradProduct - Polygamy  

Taking a deeper look into what polygamists believe as God's will - polygamy.