Polygamy and Mormon Church Leaders
Wilford Woodruff 1807-1898
Journal of Discourses 13:166; “If we were to do away with polygamy, it would only be one feather in the bird, one ordinance in the Church and kingdom. Do away with that, then we must do away with prophets and Apostles, with revelation and the gifts and graces of the Gospel, and finally give up our religion altogether and turn sectarians and do as the world does, then all would be right. We just can’t do that, for God has commanded us to build up His kingdom and to bear our testimony to the nations of the earth, and we are going to do it, come life or come death.” – Wilford Woodruff, Salt Lake City, December 12, 1869
Wilford Woodruff left his mark upon the Mormon Church by issuing the 1890 Manifesto which was essentially written to end the support of polygamy by the Mormon Church. Think of it as a white flag of surrender in their public response to the government’s passing of the Edmund-Tucker Act of 1887. The problem with this scenario is that polygamy continued on its merry way as if nothing ever happened.
The Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 was the Federal Government’s way of telling the Mormons they’d had enough of the polygamy racket. They threatened confiscation of all monies and properties owned by the Church over $50,000 and to dissolve the corporation of the Church in addition to the offender facing 5 years in the pen along with a hefty fine if they didn’t stop their behavior immediately.
There is compelling evidence proving the practice of polygamy continued on uninterrupted by living with their extra wives and taking on other wives far beyond the 1890 date. Documentation from the LDS Church and even my own family pedigree charts clearly shows the integrity of Woodruff’s words were disingenuous. As it turns out he was just another Mormon polygamist leader whose words meant nothing.
One thought that keeps crossing my mind is what the average Mormon today thinks of their prophets from the past. If this so called holy man of God can’t be a man of his word, how can you believe anything else that came forth from his mouth or the mouths of those after him who don’t denounce his tenure as prophet?
One of the problems with polygamy (outside of being unbiblical and unlawful) is how there are so many intermarriages within the clans; the gene pool is muddied indeed. Many people are given the names of their relatives before them. For instance one of Woodruff’s sons was named Brigham Young Woodruff. You can just imagine how confusing this would be with 11-12 wives and 35 kids per male polygamist. This tradition carries on in the polygamist families of today. Tracking down the actual person or persons involved in the illegal act is next to impossible. Additionally, the inbreeding has caused countless birth defects only seen when relatives are having babies with each other. There is little to no communication with those living on the outside fortress of the polygamous lifestyle. Needless to say, brainwashing, incest, rape, abortion, and other abuses all go unchecked, just as they did in the nineteenth century in the land of “Deseret”.
From the outside looking in, it seems having multiple sexual partners and lying about it was more important to Woodruff than obeying the federal laws of the land.
|Wife #||Marriage date &Woodruff’s age atdate of
|Wife’s name & age at marriage||Number of kids Total = 35||Other info|
|1||4.13.1837 (30)||Phoebe W. Carter (30)||9||Married for 48 yrs. and died in 1885 while Woodruff was on the run from the feds – he didn’t attend funeral.|
|2||4.15.1846 (39)||Mary Ann Jackson (28)||1||British immigrantDivorced Woodruff in 1848|
|3||8.2.1846 (39)||Mary Caroline Barton||0||Divorced – was a teenager when married to Woodruff|
|4||8.2.1846 (39)||Sarah Elinore Brown||0||Divorced 4 weeks after marriage – she was 18. *|
|5||3.28.1852 (45)||Mary Meek Giles (Webster) (48)||0||Widowed when married WW but sealed to WW for time & eternity|
|6||1852||Clarissa Hardy (17)||0||Divorced in 1853|
|7||3.13.1853 (46)||Sarah E. Brown (19)||8||Sealed to WW for time & eternity by Brigham Y.|
|8||3.13.1853 (46)||Emma Smoot Smith (15)||8||Sealed to WW for time & eternity by Brigham Y. Seen in numerous public photos w/ WW.|
|9||7.31.1857 (50)||Sarah Delight Stocking (19)||9||Mother is part of Ensign clan. Sealed to WW by Brigham Y. @ Endowment house in SLC.|
|10||3.10.1877 (70)||Eudora Lovina Young (24)||0||Daughter of Brigham Young. Divorced w/2 kids when married to WW. Young offered his daughter as a wife to WW. Had 1 son w/ WW who died soon after birth. Divorced WW and married non-Mormon judge Albert Hagan and had 4 kids. **|
|11||1877 (70)||Lucy Bigelow Young||0||Lucy was Brigham Young’s widow. Utah Historical Society indicates she did not marry WW as stated in the records provided by Dialogue, Journal of Mormon Thought.|
*LDS records indicate Wilford Woodruff married her sister posthumously. Rebecca Brown born in Vinal Haven, Maine. October 3, 1826/Sealed to Wilford Woodruff. Died August 1839 @ 13 years old.
**The Wives of Wilford Woodruff by Todd Compton
All other info on Woodruff and his wives was obtained from http://dialoguejournal.com
Dialogue A Journal of Mormon Thought
Volume 27, Number 2, 1994, Articles & Essays
Nauvoo Roots of Mormon Polygamy, 1841-1846:
A Preliminary Demographic Report, George D. Smith
Woodruff’s daughter Phoebe (from marriage to his 1st wife) was wife #8 to Lorenzo Snow, who became the 5th prophet of the LDS Church. Woodruff essentially became the father-in-law to Lorenzo who was born in 1814 and only 7 years younger than Woodruff.