Definitions

plural-marriage

List of Latter Day Saint practitioners of plural marriage

According to a consensus of historians, founder Joseph Smith, Jr. and many adherents in the Latter Day Saint movement have practiced plural marriage, a doctrine that states that polygyny is ordained of God. Although the largest denomination in the movement, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, officially abandoned the practice of plural marriage in 1890, a number of churches in the Mormon fundamentalist movement continue to teach and practice it. Historically, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now the Community of Christ), the second largest denomination in the movement, had an anti-polygamy position and denied officially that Smith had taught or practiced it, since Smith denied his involvement during his church leadership.

Pre-succession crisis

The following notable Latter Day Saints are alleged to have practiced plural marriage prior to the 1844 succession crisis that followed the death of Joseph Smith, Jr..

Name Date entered polygamy Eventual No. of wives Notes
Joseph Smith, Jr. April 5, 1841 Todd Compton has reckoned 33 founder of the Latter Day Saint movement; see Origin of Latter Day Saint polygamy; though he is alleged to have married more than 30 wives before his death and to have taught the doctrine to his close associates, he denied the practice publicly, as did his wife Emma Smith and son Joseph Smith III.
Hyrum Smith Aug 11, 1843 George D. Smith has reckoned 2 Brother of Joseph Smith, Assistant President of the Church, and church presiding patriarch; publicly denied practicing polygamy.
Brigham Young June 14, 1842 55 Later succeeded Smith as leader of the LDS church, and is probably the most famous and prolific LDS polygamist with 55 wives
Heber C. Kimball 1842 45 Later became a high ranking leader in the LDS church, an apostle, and first counselor to president Brigham Young
Willard Richards Jan 18, 1843 14 Later became a high ranking leader in the LDS church, an apostle, and second counselor to president Brigham Young
William Smith Aug, 1843 22 Youngest brother of Joseph Smith, one of the original Twelve Apostles, and third Presiding Patriarch; excommunicated in October 1845 but continued to practice his own form of polygamy; followed James J. Strang and introduced polygamy to the Strangite Mormons, then started his own LDS Church in Covington, Kentucky, which also disintegrated after he introduced spiritual wifery into it; had five civil wives (due to death or divorce), plus some 17 additional women he had sealed to him as "spiritual wives", the last occurring about 1852; in later years he joined the Reorganized LDS Church (now Community of Christ) and always denied he and his brother Joseph had ever practiced or taught spiritual wifery or any other form of polygamy
Thomas Bullock Jan 23, 1843 3
Orson Pratt Mar 10, 1843 10 Younger brother of Parley P. Pratt (another well known polygamist), and an original member of the quorum of the twelve apostles. Under the direction of Brigham Young, he published The Seer, a periodical published to defend the LDS church's practice of polygamy. Despite William Clayton claiming in his journal, first published in 1921, that she had been told of the revelation on polygamy on July 12, 1843, Emma Smith, Joseph Smith's widow, claimed that the very first time she ever became aware of polygamy being attributed to her late husband was 10 years later when she read about it in Pratt's The Seer in 1853.
William Clayton Apr 27, 1843 10 Smith dictated the 1843 revelation on polygamy to Clayton. (See Origin of Latter Day Saint polygamy)
Orson Hyde Apr 1843 7 An original member of the quorum of the twelve apostles, and served as president of the quorum for nearly 30 years under Brigham Young's presidency of the LDS church. His wife Marinda allegedly married Joseph Smith in a polyandrous marriage while Hyde was on a mission to Jerusalem.
Parley P. Pratt Jun 24, 1843 11
Amasa M. Lyman Jul 1843 9
John Taylor Dec 12, 1843 16
Edwin D. Woolley 1843 6
Erastus Snow Apr 2, 1844 16
John D. Lee Apr 19, 1844 19
Ezra T. Benson Apr 27, 1844 8

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The following members of the LDS Church practiced plural marriage:

Presidents of the Church

Name No. of wives Notes
Heber J. Grant 3 In 1899, Grant pleaded guilty to unlawful cohabitation and was fined $100
Joseph F. Smith 6 issued the Second Manifesto in 1904
Lorenzo Snow 11 • convicted of unlawful cohabitation in 1885; imprisoned in 1885 and 1886
• was one of the few Latter-day Saint leaders that ceased cohabiting with his already existing plural wives after the 1890 Manifesto
John Taylor 9 father of 34 children
Wilford Woodruff 11 issed the 1890 Manifesto
Brigham Young 55

Members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Name No. of wives Notes
Ezra T. Benson 8
Abraham H. Cannon convicted of unlawful cohabitation in 1886 and imprisoned for six moths
George Q. Cannon 5 pleaded guilty to unlawful cohabitation in 1888; imprisoned for nearly six months
Albert Carrington 2
Rudger Clawson • convicted of unlawful cohabitation in 1882 and sentence to 3½ years imprisonment and a $1,500 fine
• first person convicted under the Edmunds Act
Matthias F. Cowley resigned from the Quorum of the Twelve in 1905 as a result of his opposition to the church's abandonment of plural marriage
Jedediah M. Grant 7
Orson Hyde 9
Heber C. Kimball 43
Amasa M. Lyman 8
Francis M. Lyman
Richard R. Lyman 2 began what he called a polygamous relationship in 1925 without the knowledge of his first wife; excommunicated from the church in 1943 for adultery resulting from this unauthorized relationship
Marriner W. Merrill
Charles W. Nibley 3
Orson Pratt edited the periodical The Seer which attempted to explain the doctrine of plural marriage to non-Mormon readers
Parley P. Pratt murdered in 1857 by one of his plural wives' ex-husband
Charles C. Rich
Franklin D. Richards
Willard Richards
George A. Smith 6
John Smith (1781-1854)
John Henry Smith
John W. Taylor excommunicated from the church in 1911 for his opposition to the church's abandonment of plural marriage
George Teasdale
Daniel H. Wells
John R. Winder
Abraham O. Woodruff 2 married his second wife in 1900, ten years after his father had issued the 1890 Manifesto
Brigham Young, Jr.
John Willard Young

Other church general authorities

Name No. of wives Notes
Titus Billings
Robert T. Burton
Levi W. Hancock 5
Leonard W. Hardy
George Miller 3
John Morgan 3
Isaac Morley 7
George Reynolds 2 • was the accused in the U.S. Supreme Court case on polygamy, Reynolds v. United States
• first convicted Mormon polygamist to serve a term of imprisonment
B. H. Roberts 3 convicted of unlawful cohabitation in 1899 and imprisoned for six months
Zerubbabel Snow
Edward Stevenson 7
William W. Taylor 2
John Van Cott 5
Newell K. Whitney
Joseph Young 4

Other notable members of the LDS Church

Name No. of wives Notes
Milo Andrus 11
Thomas Bullock 3
Hugh Findlay 2
William J. Flake 2 convicted of unlawful cohabitation in 1883 and imprisoned for a short time
David Fullmer 2
John S. Fullmer 3
Ephraim Hanks 4
Abraham Hoagland 4
John D. Lee 19
Charles Sreeve Peterson
Orson Spencer 6
David King Udall 3 married last wife in 1903, 13 years after 1890 Manifesto

Mormon fundamentalists

The following are notable members of the Mormon fundamentalist movement who have practiced plural marriage:
Name No. of wives Notes
Owen A. Allred 8 leader of the Apostolic United Brethren
Rulon C. Allred at least 12 leader of the Apostolic United Brethren
John Y. Barlow 4
J. Leslie Broadbent 4
James D. Harmston founder of the True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days
Rulon Jeffs possibly as many as 75 leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Warren Jeffs leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Leroy S. Johnson leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Alex Joseph up to 20 founder of the Confederate Nations of Israel
Charles Elden Kingston co-founder of the Latter Day Church of Christ
Ervil LeBaron founder of the Church of the Lamb of God
Joel LeBaron founder of the Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times
Joseph White Musser 5
John W. Woolley 3
Lorin C. Woolley at least 4
Charles Zitting 5

See also

Notes

References

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