Why Do Mormons Practice Polygamy?

Mormons are famous for polygamy. Joseph Smith had 49 wives, including some he took from other men. Bringham Young had 25 wives. It was Joseph Smith’s adulterous advances that led four disillusioned converts to start the Nauvoo Expositor, the newspaper that led to Smith’s downfall. Bringham Young stated the Mormon position on polygamy plainly.

Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). Also, “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269)

Polygamy was standard Mormon practice for years. Why do they believe in it? They believe that earthly marriages carry into the future. With your wife, you will create spirit children to populate other planets. The more wives, the more children. (By the way, in Matthew 22:30, Jesus clearly says that marriages do not exist in heaven and neither do we have children in heaven.) Mormons believe procreation now and in eternity are essenti

Polygamy, as an official practice of the church, came to an end in 1890 when Wilford Woodruff, the fourth president of the Mormon church, declared that Mormons should give it up. Instead they substituted something called “celestial marriage” where a man can seal up for himself extra wives for eternity in a celestial marriage ceremony in a Mormon tabernacle.

Why did they finally give up on polygamy? Pressure! Huge pressure. In 1890, when Wilford Woodruff officially discouraged polygamy, the church’s leaders were in jail or in hiding for the practice, the US government was threatening to confiscate their land and Utah had no chance of gaining statehood if the practice continued.

That being said, polygamy is still practiced by some Mormons today. There is even a program on
TLC called Sister Wives which is about one Mormon man married to four Mormon women.