A Comparative Study and Evaluation of the Latter-day Saint and 'Fundamentalist' Views Pertaining to the Practice of Plural Marriage
Brigham Young University
Since the issuance of the Manifesto by President Wilford Woodruff on September 25, 1890, discontinuing the practice of plural marriage by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, intensive efforts have been made by dissenters to show that authority to practice polygamy has secretly continued to the present day. Claiming that the Church departed from its original teachings when it discontinued the practice of plural marriage and that the Manifesto was adopted merely as an act of appeasement, "fundamentalists" have attempted to show that the doctrine of plural marriage was revealed to the Latter-day Saints as an irrevocable decree, essential to the highest exaltation in the world to come. They further claim that since the time of Joseph Smith a special "higher priesthood" organization has secretly functioned independent of the Latter-day Saint Church through which authority to solemnize plural marriages has continued to the present day. Asserting that the practice of plural marriage is still a "vital part of the religion of the Latter-day Saints," and that men are commanded to obey God's laws "in total disregard of the laws of man which might conflict therewith." "Fundamentalists" conclude that it is not within the power of the Latter-day Saint Church or the Federal or State Government to prohibit plural marriages.