On Polygamy and Census Numbers

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The following quotes are from LDS-approved (at the time of their printing) publications, if not LDS publications themselves. All are referenced, and if you look them up, don't forget to look up the *originals* because the church has a great propaganda arm to revise it's history.

In the 1835 edition of the canonized Doctrine and Covenants, section 104 denounced polygamy:

“Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the CRIME of fornication, and POLYGAMY: we declare that we believe, that ONE man should have ONE WIFE; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.” (D&C 104, until 1876 edition, when it was removed)

In a January 21, 1838 letter, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith's right-hand man from the early beginnings of the church, accuses Joseph of having an illicit affair with Fanny Alger:

“When he [Joseph Smith] was there we had some conversation in which in every instance I did not fail to affirm that what I had said was strictly true. A DIRTY, NASTY, FILTHY AFFAIR OF HIS AND FANNY ALGER'S was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deviated from the truth in the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself.”

(Letter written by Oliver Cowdery and recorded by his brother Warren Cowdery; see photograph in The Mormon Kingdom, Vol. 1, page 27)

Joseph Smith's scribe, William Clayton, related how Joseph tried to convince his wife Emma that God told him to have lots of women:

“On the morning of the 12th of July, 1843; Joseph and Hyrum Smith came into the office... They were talking on the subject of plural marriage. Hyrum said to Joseph, 'If you will write the revelation on celestial marriage, I will take it and read it to Emma, and I believe I can convince her of its truth, and you will hereafter have peace.' Joseph smiled and remarked, 'YOU DO NOT KNOW EMMA AS WELL AS I DO.'... Joseph then said, 'Well, I will write the revelation and we shall see.'... Hyrum then took the revelation to read to Emma. Joseph remained with me in the office until Hyrum returned. When he came back, Joseph asked how he had succeeded. Hyrum replied that HE HAD NEVER RECEIVED A MORE SEVERE TALKING TO IN HIS LIFE,... “Joseph quietly remarked, 'I told you you did not know Emma as well as I did.' Joseph then put the revelation in his pocket, and they both left the office. “... Two or three days after the revelation was written Joseph related to me and several others that Emma had so teased, and urgently entreated him for the privilege of destroying it, that he became so weary of her teasing, and to get rid of her annoyance, he told her she might destroy it and she had done so, but he had consented to her wish in this matter to pacify her, realizing that he...could rewrite it at any time if necessary.”

(History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, Introduction to Vol. 5)

Brigham Young tells how incenced Joseph's wife Emma was about polygamy:

Emma took that revelation, supposing she had all there was; but Joseph had wisdom enough to take care of it, and he had handed the revelation to Bishop Whitney, and he wrote it all off. After Joseph had been to Bishop Whitney's he went home, and Emma began to teasing for the revelation. Said she—'Joseph you promised me that revelation, and if you are a man of your word you will give it to me.' Joseph took it from his pocket and said— 'Take it.' She went to the fireplace and put it in, and put the candle under it and burnt it, and she thought that was the end of it, AND SHE WILL BE DAMNED as sure as she is a living woman. Joseph used to say that he would have her hereafter, IF HE HAD TO GO TO HELL FOR HER, AND HE WILL HAVE TO GO TO HELL FOR HER AS SURE AS HE EVER GETS HER.”

(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 17, p. 159)

Mormon canonical works contradict God's stand concerning polygamy:


“For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in INIQUITY; they understand NOT the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing WHOREDOMS, because of the things which were written concern ing David, and Solomon his son. “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was ABOMINABLE BEFORE ME, saith the Lord.”

(Book of Mormon, p. 111, verses 23-24)


“Verily, thus saith the Lord...you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, JUSTIFIED my servants...David and Solomon,...as touching the principle and doctrine of - having MANY WIVES AND CONCUBINES—“David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me,...”

(Doctrine and Covenants, section 132, verses l and. 39)

Joseph's revelation on polygamy specifies that a man's first wife must consent before he can take another woman.

"And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and THE FIRST GIVE HER CONSENT, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, THEN IS HE JUSTIFIED; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else."

(Doctrine and Covenants 132:61)

Yet Joseph didn't follow "God's" word. Emily Dow Partridge testified that she and her sister were married to Joseph without Emma's consent:

“...the Prophet Joseph and his wife Emma offered us a home in their family, and they treated us with great kindness. We had been there about a year when the principle of plural marriage was made known to us, and I was MARRIED TO JOSEPH SMITH on the 4th of March 1843, Elder Heber C. Kimball performing the ceremony. My sister Eliza was also MARRIED TO JOSEPH a few days later. THIS WAS DONE WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF EMMA SMITH. Two months afterward she consented to give her husband two wives, providing he would give her the privilege of choosing them. She accordingly chose my sister Eliza and myself, and TO SAVE FAMILY TROUBLE BROTHER JOSEPH THOUGHT IT BEST TO HAVE ANOTHER CEREMONY PERFORMED. Accordingly on the 11th of May, 1843, we were sealed to Joseph Smith a second time, in Emma's presence,... From that very hour, however, Emma was our BITTER ENEMY. We remained in the family several months after this, but things went from bad to worse until we were obligated to leave the house and find another home.”

(Historical Record, p. 240)

The excess women excuse is debunked

The Mormon apostle John Widsoe debunked the common explanation that polygamy was practiced in order to provide homes to a surplus of women in the church:

“Plural marriage has been a subject of wide and frequent comment. Members of the Church unfamiliar with its history, and many nonmembers, have set up fallacious reasons for the origin of this system of marriage among the Latter-day Saints. “The most common of these conjectures is that the Church, through plural marriage sought to provide husbands for its large surplus of female members. The implied assumption in this theory, that there have been more female than male members in the Church, is NOT supported by existing evidence. On the contrary, there seems always to have been MORE MALES than females in the Church...

“The United States census records from 1850 to 1940, and all available Church records, uniformly show a preponderance of MALES in Utah, and in the Church. Indeed, the excess in Utah has usually been larger than for the whole United States,...Orson Pratt, writing in 1853 from direct knowledge of Utah conditions, when the excess of females was supposedly the highest, declares against the opinion that females out numbered the males in Utah... “Another conjecture is that the people were few in numbers and that the Church, desiring greater numbers, permitted the practice so that a phenomenal increase in population could be attained. This is not defensible, since there WAS NO SURPLUS OF WOMEN.”

(Evidences and Reconciliations, 1960, pages 390-392)

From an LDS publication:

“But then the proportion of the sexes in Utah would not, at present, admit of an extensive practice of plural marriage. When the census was taken five years ago, there were 143,963 souls in Utah Territory, not counting untaxed Indians. In this number there was an excess of 5,055 MALES over females. This does not have the appearance of permitting an extensive practice of plural marriage,...”

(Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 20, page 133)

Brigham Young gives Mormon women 2 week ultimatem to quit complaining about polygamy:

“Now for my proposition; it is more particularly for my sisters, as it is frequently happening that women say they are UNHAPPY. Men will say, 'My wife, though a most excellent woman, has NOT SEEN A HAPPY DAY SINCE I TOOK MY SECOND WIFE,' 'No, NOT A HAPPY DAY FOR A YEAR,' says one; and another HAS NOT SEEN AHAPPY DAY FOR FIVE YEARS. It is said that women are tied down and abused: that they are misused and have not the liberty they ought to have; that many of them ARE WADING THROUGH A PERFECT FLOOD OF TEARS,...

“I wish my own women to understand that what I am going to say is for them as well as others, and I want those who are here to tell their sisters, yes, all the women of this community, and then write it back to the States, and do as you please with it. I am going to give you from this time to the 6th day of October next, for reflection, that you may determine whether you wish to stay with your husbands or not, and then I am going TO SET EVERY WOMAN AT LIBERTY and say to them, Now go your way, MY WOMEN WITH THE REST, go your way. AND MY WIVES have go to do one of two things; either round up their shoulders to endure the afflictions of this world, and live their religion, OR THEY MAY LEAVE, for I will not have them about me. I will go into heaven alone, rather than have SCRATCHING AND FIGHTING AROUND ME. I WILL SET ALL AT LIBERTY. 'WHAT, FIRST WIFE TOO?' YES, I WILL LIBERATE YOU ALL....

“I wish my women, and brother Kimball's and brother Grant's to leave, and every woman in this Territory, or else say in their hearts that they will embrace the Gospel —the whole of it....say to your wives, 'Take all that I have and be set at liberty; but if you stay with me you shall comply with the law of God, and that too WITHOUT ANY MURMURING AND WHINING. You must fulfil the law of God in every respect, and round up your shoulders to WALK UP TO THE MARK WITHOUT ANY GRUNTING.' “Now recollect that two weeks from to morrow I am going to set you at liberty. But the first wife will say, 'It is hard, for I have lived with my husband twenty years, or thirty, and have raised a family of children for him, and it is a great trial to me for him to have more women;' then I say IT IS TIME THAT YOU GAVE HIM UP TO OTHER WOMEN WHO WILL BEAR CHILDREN. If my wife had borne me all the children that she ever would bare, the celestial law would teach me TO TAKE YOUNG WOMEN that would have children....

“SISTERS, I AM NOT JOKING, I do not throw out my proposition to banter your feelings, to see whether you will leave your husbands, all or any of you. BUT I KNOW THAT THERE IS NO CESSATION TO THE EVERLASTING WHINING OF MANY OF THE WOMEN IN THIS TERRITORY; I am satisfied that this is the case. And if the women will turn from the commandments of God and continue to despise the order of heaven, I will pray that the curse of the Almighty may be close to their heals, and that it may be following them all the day long....

“Prepare yourselves for two weeks from to morrow; and I will tell you now, that if you will tarry with your husbands, after I HAVE SET YOU FREE, YOU MUST BOW DOWN TO IT, and SUBMIT yourselves to the CELESTIAL LAW. You may go where you please, after two weeks from to-morrow; but, remember, that I WILL NOT HEAR ANY MORE OF THIS WHINING.”

(Sermon by Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4., pp. 55-57; also printed in Deseret News, Vol. 6, pp. 235-236)

Brigham Young brags about his virility:

“Brother Cannon remarked that people wondered how many wives and children I had. He may inform them, that I SHALL HAVE WIVES AND CHILDREN BY THE MILLION, and glory, and riches and power and dominion, and kingdom after kingdom, and reign triumphantly.”

(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, page 178)

“I could prove to this congregation that I AM YOUNG; for I could FIND MORE GIRLS WHO WOULD CHOOSE ME FOR A HUSBAND THAN CAN ANY OF THE YOUNG MEN.”

(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 5, page 210)

“The next man who came on to the carpet wanted to know HOW MANY WIVES BROTHER BRIGHAM HAD. I replied, '... I will guess, if that will do you any good....if I may judge from APPEARANCES, I SHOULD PRESUME HE HAS SOME FIFTY OR SIXTY.'“

(Mormon Apostle Ezra T. Benson, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, pages 80-81)

On February 19, 1854, Jedediah M. Grant, second councilor to Brigham Young, spoke in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, telling of Joseph Smiths demands for other men's wives:

“When the family organization was revealed from heaven—the PATRIACHAL ORDER of God, and JOSEPH began, ON THE RIGHT AND ON THE LEFT, TO ADD TO HIS FAMILY, what a quaking there was in Israel. Says one brother to another, 'Joseph says all covenants are DONE AWAY, and NONE ARE BINDING BUT THE NEW COVENANTS; now suppose JOSEPH should come and say HE WANTED YOUR WIFE, what you say to that?' 'I would tell him to go to hell.' This was the spirit of many in the early days of this Church....”

“What would a man of God say, who felt aright, when JOSEPH ASKED him for his money? He would say, 'Yes, and I wish I had more to help to build up the kingdom of God.' Or if HE CAME AND SAID, 'I WANT YOUR WIFE?' O YES,' he would say, 'HERE SHE IS, THERE ARE PLENTY MORE.'... Did the PROPHET JOSEPH WANT EVERY MAN'S WIFE HE ASKED FOR? He did not,... If such a man of God should come to me and say, 'I want your gold and silver, OR YOUR WIVES,' I should say,' HERE THEY ARE, I WISH I HAD MORE TO GIVE YOU, TAKE ALL I HAVE GOT.'“

(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, pp. 13-14)

Monogamy is evil

Heber C. Kimball, second councilor to Brigham Young, on how monogamy makes a man wither and dry up:

“I have noticed that a man who has BUT ONE WIFE, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to WITHER AND DRY UP, while a man who goes into PLURALITY looks fresh, YOUNG AND SPRIGHTLY. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honors his word. Some of you may not believe this, but I not only believe it but I also know it. FOR A MAN OF GOD TO BE CONFINED TO ONE WOMAN IS SMALL BUSINESS,... I DO NOT KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD DO IF WE HAD ONLY ONE WIFE APIECE.”

(Deseret News, April 22, 1857)

Brigham Young declares monogamy a system established by robbers:

“Monogamy, or restrictions by law to ONE WIFE, IS NO PART OF THE ECONOMY OF HEAVEN AMONG MEN. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman empire....Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this MONOGAMIC ORDER OF MARRIAGE, so esteemed by modern Christians as a HOLY SACRAMENT and DIVINE INSTITUTION, is nothing but a system established by a SET OF ROBBERS....

“Why do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord's servants have always practised it. 'And IS THAT RELIGION POPULAR IN HEAVEN?' IT IS THE ONLY POPULAR RELIGION THERE,...”

(The Deseret News, August 6, 1862)

George A. Smith - Monogamists should be ashamed:

“We breathe the free air, we have the best looking men and handsomest women, and if they envy us our position, well they may, for they are a poor, NARROW MINDED, PINCH-BACKED RACE OF MEN, WHO CHAIN THEMSELVES DOWN TO THE LAW OF MONOGAMY AND LIVE ALL THEIR DAYS UNDER THE DOMINION OF ONE WIFE. They ought to be ASHAMED OF SUCH CONDUCT, and the still fouler channel which flows from their practices; and it is not to be wondered at that they should envy those who so much better understand the social relations.”

(Deseret News, April 16, 1856)

Brigham Young - Monogamy is the source of prostitution and whoredom:

“Since the founding of the Roman empire monogamy has prevailed more extensively than in times previous to that. The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy in consequence of the scarcity of women among them, and hence this MONOGAMIC SYSTEM which now prevails throughout Christendom, and which had been so fruitful a source of PROSTITUTION AND WHOREDOM throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious.”

(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 128)

From the Mormon church paper "millenial star":


(Millennial Star, Vol. 15, p. 227)

Mormon apostle Orson Pratt explains that the debauched state of Europe is due to monogamy:

“Some of the nations of Europe who believe in the one wife system have actually forbidden a plurality of wives by their laws; and the consequences are that the whole country among them is overrun with the most abomi[na]ble practices? adulteries and unlawful connections prevail through all their villages, towns, cities, and country places to a most fearful extent.”

(The Seer, p. 12)

George Q. Cannon - Monogamy responsible for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire:

“It is a fact worthy of note that the shortest lived nations of which we have record have been monogamic. Rome...was a MONOGAMIC NATION AND THE NUMEROUS EVILS ATTENDING THAT SYSTEM EARLY LAID THE FOUNDATION FOR THAT RUIN WHICH EVENTUALLY OVERTOOK HER.”

(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 202)

Apostle Orson Pratt:

“This law of MONOGAMY, or the MONOGAMIC SYSTEM, laid the foundation for prostitution and the evils and diseases of the most revolting nature and character under which modern Christendom groans,...”

(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, page 195)

Brigham Young - Adam was a polygamist:

“Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and Sinner! When OUR FATHER ADAM came into the the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, ONE OF HIS WIVES WITH HIM.”

(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, page 50)

Jesus was a polygamist

Apostle Orson Hyde:

“I discover that some of the Eastern papers represent me as a great blasphemer, because I said, in my lecture on Marriage, at our last Conference, that JESUS CHRIST WAS MARRIED at Cana of Galilee, THAT MARY, MARTHA, AND OTHERS WERE HIS WIVES, AND THAT HE BEGAT CHILDREN.

(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, page 210)

Brigham Young, answering critics who claimed polygamy as a relic of barbarism:

“ Yes, one of the relics of Adam, of Enoch, of Noah, of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Moses, David, Solomon, the Prophets, OF JESUS, AND HIS APOSTLES.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 328)

Brigham Young:

“The Scripture says that He, the LORD, came walking in the Temple, with HIS TRAIN; I do not now who they were, unless HIS WIVES AND CHILDREN;...” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, page 309)

Apostle Orson Pratt:

“...it will be seen that the GREAT MESSIAH who was the founder of the Christian religion, WAS A POLYGAMIST, ...the MESSIAH chose...by MARRYING MANY honorable WIVES himself, show to all future generations that HE approbated the PLURALITY OF WIVES under the Christian dispensation, as well as under the dispensation in which His Polygamist ancestors lived. “We have now clearly shown that GOD THE FATHER HAD A PLURALITY OF WIVES, one or more being in eternity, by whom He begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus His first Born, and another being upon the earth by whom He begat the tabernacle of Jesus, as his only begotten in this world. We have also proved most clearly that the Son followed the example of his Father, and became the great Bridegroom to whom kings' daughters and many honorable wives were to be married We have also proved that both God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit THEIR WIVES IN ETERNITY as well as in time;... And then it would be so shocking to the modesty of the very pious ladies of Christendom to see Abraham and his wives, Jacob and his wives, JESUS AND HIS HONORABLE WIVES, all eating occasionally at the same table, and visiting one another, and conversing about their numerous children and their kingdoms. Oh, ye delicate ladies of Christendom how can you endure such a scene as this?... If you do not want your morals corrupted, and your delicate ears shocked, and your pious modesty put to the blush by the society of POLYGAMISTS and their wives, do not venture near the New Earth; for POLYGAMISTS will be honored there, and will be among the chief rulers in that Kingdom.”

(The Seer, page 172)

Brigham Young - To become a god, one must be a polygamist:

“The ONLY MEN WHO BECOME GODS, even the Sons of God, are those WHO ENTER INTO POLYGAMY.”

(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269)