This is really cool (from an “understanding them” perspective).

It’s from the Salt Lake Tribune, and it’s a “Day in the Life of a Polygamous Family” multimedia screencast.  For those interested, there appears to be an entire SLTrib blog dedicated to modern Mormon polygamy.

Check it out if you feel so inclined.

(Thanks to David for the head’s up)


  1. Anon July 1, 2007 at 9:45 am

    Associated Press – 1 March 2005 – Recent news reports regarding various issues related to the practice of polygamy, especially focusing on groups in Southern Utah, Arizona and Texas, have used terms such as “fundamentalist Mormons,”  “Mormon sect”  and “polygamous Mormons”  to refer to those who practice polygamy.

    There is no such thing as a “polygamous” Mormon.  Mormon is a common name for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Church discontinued polygamy more than a century ago.  No members of the Church today can enter into polygamy without being excommunicated.  Polygamist groups in Utah, Arizona or Texas have nothing whatsoever to do with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, terms such as those listed above are incorrect.  The Associated Press Stylebook notes:  “The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other … churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith’s death.”

  2. John Dehlin July 1, 2007 at 11:20 am


    I understand your point of view — I really do. As a member of the LDS church (who no longer practices polygamy in a civil sense), you want to distance yourself as far away from polygamy as you possibly can — mostly because other people think it’s weird (for lack of a better word). And since most non-Mormons think of both polygamy and the LDS church when they hear the term “Mormon”, you probably would like to do all you could to help change the meaning of the word. This makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Here are a few reasons why:

    –They (Mormon fundamentalists) believe in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and in fullness of the gospel as those men revealed it. Does this not make them Mormon to at least some degree? The only difference between them and the LDS church today, is that we believe that many of the original teachings have been changed by God, and they believe that God would never have changed such important doctrines. To me, this makes them very Mormon, not less Mormon.

    –They call THEMSELVES Mormon. Is that not worthy of respect? Mormons call themselves Christian, even though lots of Christians oppose this. Do we not claim the same right — to call ourselves what we like?

    –Polygamy remains a doctrine of the LDS church, as you can read in D&C 132: 61-63. . This should (in my mind) make us feel much more in common with these folks than distance from them.

    –I don’t think that any of the Mormon churches (and there are many) holds a monopoly on the use of the word. Is it fair to claim this right, just because we are the biggest and most powerful?

    Anyway…just a few things to think about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. PaulW July 2, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Good Points John.

    Like it or not Anon, Plural Marriage, though not practice by us today, is still effectively a doctrine of the LDS Church.

    The Manifesto really only says that the President of the Church is no longer authorizing Plural Marriages and that his advice to the Latter-day Saints is to not enter into any marriage relationship against the laws of the land.

    However, as far as I understand, we are more than willing to perform sealings that will result in a Plural Marriage in the hereafter. For example, if a man is a widower and desires to be sealed to a new bride, he can do so, while the first sealing is still in effect.

    Just some more thoughts…you might want to rethink so quickly dismissing our connection to Plural Marriage.

  4. Ben There July 2, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Seriously, Anon, relying on the ASSOCIATED PRESS to define religious terminology is a lot like the LDS church relying on the Southern Baptist Convention to define whether our baptisms are valid and whether we meet the definition of “Christian”.

    As John and Paul explained so eloquently, the term Mormon is 100% applicable to Mormon fundamentalists. You may cringe, but that doesn’t mean much in the overall scheme of things, does it?

    Btw, check Brooke Adams’ blog, for the companion article “online extra” to that slideshow.

    It really is an excellent portrayal of a very nice, normal family.

    Rememeber: the Warren Jeffs-led FLDS represent, at best, about 1/4 of Mormon fundamentalists, if that. They are a minority. The majority blend in with the rest of us, just like the family portrayed in this photo essay.

  5. Sam B. July 3, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Although I understand your point, I disagree (for various reasons that I don’t have time to type in the middle of the workday) that plural marriage is still doctrine of the LDS church. (I base it on Jacob 5 as much as anything.)

    That said, though, I agree that we don’t have a monopoly on the word “Mormon,” AP style guide or none.

  6. PaulW July 6, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Sam B.,

    I guess I don’t really understand your comment…I think you mean Jacob 2 and it doesn’t completely negate Plural Marriage as a belief or practice.

    If you understand scriptures to be revelation and commandments for certain people in specific times recored for our direction and benefit, then we need to look at them as a whole to form revealed truth.

    The Lord through Jacob commands those people to only have one wife and says, “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”

    Joseph Smith asked about the patriarchs of old…How were they justified in having many wifes?
    Out of that question we learned about how we are blessed with exaltation (becoming like our Heavenly Parents) through the New and Everlasting covenant of Eternal Marriage.

    We also learned about the laws governing the plurality of wifes and the eternal nature of those relationships.

    I ask you…if Plural Marriage is not still effectively a doctrine and belief…then why does it remain in the Doctrine and Covenants?…why don’t we just cut those part’s of Section 132 out and just leave the eternal marriage stuff?…why will we perform sealings in the temple that will result in plural marriages in the Celestial Kingdom?

    The truth is that it is not just something that Brother Joseph or Brother Brigham talked about in meetings or was rumored to have done. But it is part of the “Restoration of All Things”. Plural Marriage is at times scripturally approved (2 Samuel 12: 7-9, D&C 132), and we may yet be called to practice it again (Isaiah 4: 1).

  7. Antonio July 10, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    I really liked the soft, sweet tone of the photos and the text. Brooke Adams did a great job.

    I am sorry to realize that the views expressed by Anon have become the common sense in the LDS church and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Church decides to edit section 132 of D&C, as it has been proposed by many over the years. If they do so, plural marriage would definately be part of the past.

    Has anyone noticed that the LDS church has been trying lately to link polygamy to Brigham Young and not Joseph Smith? See for example that interview with the LDS apostle Oaks, where he talks about same-sex attaraction, etc.. Joseph was the husband of Emma. Period.

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