Polygamy and Mormon Church Leaders
Ezra Taft Benson
February 22, 1811 – September 3, 1869
Ezra Taft Benson was born into a well established, successful family who had set about gaining employment in everything from farming to politics. At the end of the Revolutionary War no less than George Washington himself stayed at the home and inn of one of the Taft’s when he began his run for US President.
The drive to succeed wasn’t lost on Ezra as he began to establish a career and carve out a little niche for himself in the new country. His ventures took him from farming to hotel entrepreneur, and cotton mill owner to LDS apostle.
When he and his first wife Pamelia joined Mormonism it seemed to be a knee-jerk reaction to their sympathetic emotions for the struggling church. When meeting members of early Mormonism they heard story after story of how they were persecuted just for believing in God.
The Benson’s found themselves believing the stories and joined the Saints as they were being kicked out of Missouri and on their way to Nauvoo. About 12 years into their marriage they invited Pamelia’s sister Adeline to live with them and subsequently introduced her to the “principle” of plural marriage. Being single and in her 30’s she joined. Adeline became the great-grandmother to the 13th prophet of the Church.
You can read about his work for the Church and find info on his other six wives in our continuing look at Polygamy and Mormon Church Leaders here.