Plural Marriage and Joseph Smith : A PR Nightmare in Mormonism
Christian Research Journal
Christian Research Institute
Publicly mention the religion of Mormonism and the first thought to come to mind is "polygamy" or, as it is also called, plural marriage. This common perception linking Mormonism with the practice of one man marrying two or more women has caused the public relations department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormon) great consternation over the years, even though this doctrine officially ended in 1890. While many Latter-day Saints may know that Brigham Young and other nineteenth century men in the LDS religion took multiple wives, they may not realize that Joseph Smith, their beloved founder, was Mormonism's first polygamist.
Beginning in late 2013, the LDS Church began posting a series of "Gospel Topics" essays on its lds.org website that deal with a variety of controversial issues. Church leader Steven E. Snow says that these essays were meant to counter faulty information that he believes emanates from enemies of the church: "We understandably have not spent a lot of time in the past worrying about these issues because our mission is to promote faith and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. But as the information age is now upon us, we feel with all of this information out there we owe it particularly to the rising generation to provide good reliable information about these matters." [From the text]