Online Poll

A Mormon family.

A Mormon family.

The founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, privately endorsed the practice of plural marriage as early as the 1830s and made it public based on a revelation in 1843.

From the beginning, the practice was criticized and denounced by other Americans. In 1862, under the Morrill Act, polygamy became a felony, but Smith's successors Brigham Young and John Taylor continued to defend the practice. For decades it stood as the chief obstacle to Utah's admission to the Union as a state. In 1890 a Supreme Court ruling upheld the seizure of Mormon church property for the felony of polygamy.

Mormons had in many ways viewed themselves as separate from American society and had earlier attempted to move outside the boundaries of the United States. The church now had to decide whether to adhere to what Smith had presented as a key tenet of their faith or fully embrace an American citizenship that would not permit this practice. In 1890 Mormon president Wilford Woodruff officially renounced plural marriage, though he never described the shift as being based on a revelation. Utah became a state in 1896.

Today, an estimated thirty to sixty thousand people in Mormon sects continue to practice plural marriage, many insisting that they are following the true Mormon faith, although official church policy is to excommunicate polygamists.

Do you agree with the Mormon Church's 1890 decision to officially abandon plural marriage?

 Agree     Disagree


Did you watch the film, "The Mormons"? (Please vote "yes" if you watched at least half of the film.)

 Yes     No

If yes, did it influence your answers?

 Yes     No

I do not wish to vote but would like to see the current results