Polygamy in Utah

31 December

wedding rings 3From the inception of Mormonism itself, there’s been controversy. Joe Smith’s unconventional lifestyle was laden with numerous events the majority of people either never thought of before, or outright shunned.

Ignoring or shunning Smith always brought the same reaction; outrage. If you weren’t supportive of his antics, you were labeled a heretic, or an ‘anti’. Fast forward two hundred years, and the story is pretty much the same, with the exception of one thing. Many church members are now backing off the list of excuses for early Utah polygamy because of historical evidence.

The US Government’s practice of counting people, along with the invention of the internet, has been able to shine new light on old lies.

Polygamy Needed because of Female Surplus

For years the Church lied about the practice of polygamy, yet this didn’t stop members from picking up on a couple of statements by leaders who provided excuses for the nefarious way they behaved. The lie, worded differently to fit the situation, always pointed away from their sin, and to other factors in society that proved not to be true. Ironically, while some leaders were stating one thing, others were making statements refuting the claims. Here’s a few of the claims they’ve tried to pull off over the years –

William BerrettThe Restored Church, by William E. Berrett, 1956, p. 250; “In the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an unusual condition prevailed. More women than men joined the church…There were not enough men to go around…The alternative was plural marriage.”

William Berrett (1902-1993) was the VP of BYU, head of Seminaries, Institutes and all Church-run colleges and schools, as well as the author of many LDS curriculum books utilized by the Church.

The man obviously knew what was going on in the annals of Mormon history, so why did he lie?

Another well known leader was the Mormon apostle, Orson Pratt, who made many of the same claims of the female population being greater than males.

Orson PrattJournal of Discourses 13:195; “If all the inhabitants of the earth, at the present time, were righteous before God, and both males and females were faithful in keeping His commandments, and the numbers of the sexes of a marriageable age were exactly equal, there would be no necessity for any such institution. Every righteous man could have his wife and there would be no overplus of females.” – Orson Pratt, Salt Lake City, October 7, 1869

Polygamy Needed because Some Men won’t Marry

Just four years after Pratt’s comment, Brigham Young declared the burden of practicing polygamy was caused from unmarried men.

Unmarried Men Caused Polygamy

brigham youngJournal of Discourses 16:166; “If we could make every man upon the earth get him a wife, live righteously and serve God, we would not be under the necessity, perhaps, of taking more than one wife. But they will not do this; the people of God, therefore, have been commanded to take more wives.” — Brigham Young, Paris, Idaho, August 31, 1873

Truth be Told

They can come up with any number of harebrained ideas, but the truth is far different than what we read in historical documents.

Utah Population by Gender and DecadeWith the exception of five specific years in the twentieth century, the male population has always exceeded their counterparts. As you’ll readily notice in the chart provided, their excuses are laid bare to see them for what they are; lies.

Sadly if and when another leader makes a statement refuting the claims of other LDS authorities, the memo doesn’t receive the same amount of attention. Needless to say, that if extraneous sources provide info that also refutes their claims, those aren’t even mentioned. Here are a few examples –

Deseret News, ‘The Census,’ December 29, 1880, p. 753;

Results of Utah Census shows more males than females.

Total –    143,907 = 100%

Males –     74,471 = 51.7%

Females – 69,436 = 48.3%

More Women than Men… – 1866

The Mormon Prophet and His Harem on, An Authentic History of Brigham Young, His Numerous Wives and Children, p. 222; “Utah Census of 1850…it will appear that there was, at that time, an excess of males in every county in the Territory, amounting, in the aggregate, to 712; the total number of males being 6,046, and of females, 5,334.  The national census of 1860 shows the following result: males, 20,255 – females 20,018.”

Even their own experts deny the old claims…

John_A._WidtsoeEvidences and Reconciliations, 1960, pp. 390-392; “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…This theory is not defensible since there was no surplus of women.” – LDS Apostle John A. Widstoe

The Church obviously has a PR problem they choose to ignore. If, or when, anyone speaks out against their claims, they’re labeled ‘anti’, or if the bad news comes from within it’s simply ignored. Ironically, the Church has a habit of publishing everything they’ve ever said which leaves the door open for people who want to know the truth. You can use their own documents, but just know in advance it’ll be rejected, even if it’s true.





(Utah History Demographics)

Rethinking Mormonism

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